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Wanna drive Steve Ballmer nutso? Here's how

A published report says that Google and are thinking up ways to collaborate. Smart move--and long overdue--if true.

File this one under the heading of "after-the-fact" ruminations. But a recent report in The Wall Street Journal that Google and were talking about ways to collaborate particularly piqued my interest. This potential partnership makes sense in so many ways--not the least being that it would drive Steve Ballmer to pull out what's left of his hair.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer CNET

Would Google actually buy Salesforce? I'm sure Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff would sell at the right price, and Google obviously has money to spend. But these two don't have to head to the altar right away because they can still realize their common objective of driving Microsoft batty.

Why wouldn't Benioff want to team up with Google? It's only a matter of time before Microsoft begins to compete more directly against Salesforce, and a well-heeled ally would come in handy.

The only surprise for me is that it's taken this long for Google and Salesforce to get serious about hammering out a pact. Google Apps--which include several Web-based apps--don't at all overlap with customer-relationship management offerings. What with Google also trying to push a paid version of Google Apps for business users, the argument for a stronger alliance with Salesforce becomes a slam dunk.