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Applications

Salesforce.com lifts curtain on new release

Software-as-a-service company keeps compatibility and customization top priorities with release of new version of subscription software.

Salesforce.com previewed on Tuesday new features it's adding to its "on-demand" customer information systems, many of them aimed at enhancing the subscription software's interoperability.

The San Francisco company plans to release the revised programs, called Salesforce Summer 05 release, in June. Salesforce, a Wall Street darling, is setting the pace in an emerging market known as "on-demand" software. That means the company rents its software out to businesses over the Web for a monthly fee--a model that's inspiring many imitators.

In the new release, Salesforce plans to include a new version of its Sforce program, a set of tools the company introduced in 2003 that lets its software share marketing, sales and customer data with other business systems. New in Sforce 6.0 are data loading and extraction tools designed to let companies quickly import, export and update large batches of data in Salesforce's systems, the company said.

"Our goal is to become the world's trusted standard for managing and sharing information on-demand," Marc Benioff, chief executive of Salesforce, said in a statement.

Other new features include a partner portal toolkit, which lets businesses create Web sites on which their partners can view and share leads, contacts, plans and documents. The new release will also include single-sign-on capabilities, allowing companies to use Microsoft Windows user authentication tools to manage access to Salesforce's systems. Sforce 6.0 will be available at no extra charge to Salesforce Enterprise Edition customers, the company said.

Salesforce said it considers the introduction of Sforce a success, with more than 8,000 registered developers from more than 1,000 companies, including Macromedia, Analog Devices, TIBCO, Globix, DoubleClick and JBoss, using it.