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Salesforce Plans Java-like Language

By Ed Sutherland     Feedback

Is the CRM company remaking itself as the next Microsoft?

Salesforce.com announced plans to introduce Apex, a Java-like programming language allowing customers to run business applications without the "burden of buying and deploying complex software infrastructure."

"This is the most important announcement Salesforce.com has ever made," Marc Benioff, Salesforce chairman and CEO, told those attending its annual user conference.

The San Francisco-based company said Apex, with its Java-like functionality, should be immediately familiar to developers and enable a variety of business applications to run atop Saleforce's on-demand AppExchange.

In a direct jab at Microsoft and database giant Oracle , Salesforce noted the new programming language eliminates "the need for operating systems, databases, applications and Web servers, datacenters or other infrastructure requirements."

The Apex language will be available the first half of 2007, according to the company.

Benioff started 2006 announcing AppExchange.

"We'll take a killer app on the Internet -- Salesforce.com -- and transform it into a platform, just as our predecessors did in the PC marketplace," internetnews.com reported at the time.

Now 400 applications are available on AppExchange, said Kendall Collins, Salesforce senior marketing vice president. The introduction of Apex "just dumped gasoline on it," he said.

Collins freely admits that Salesforce is now gunning for Microsoft.

"Microsoft's entire model is based on giving people such an intertwined mess they'll never be free of it," Collins told internetnews.com.

Customers "don't need to buy a Vista -- we've given them an on-demand alternative," he said.

"No hardware, software, datacenters or infrastructure of any kind will be needed to build, distribute and deliver on-demand application," Benioff said in a statement.

Salesforce also named dozens of companies part of its Apex Alliance, including Adobe , Dell , Sybase and Research in Motion .

This article was originally published on October 9, 2006
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