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Salesforce to tout growth, charity at NYC event Wednesday

In addition to announcing a year of growth that resulted in a milestone of one million paid customer accounts, the company is set to debut a new software product.

Enterprise Web software company Salesforce says it will be a holiday season worth celebrating: the company announced Wednesday that it is set to surpass a milestone of one million paid customers by the end of 2007.

"It took seven years to reach the first 500,000 paying subscribers and only another 16 months for the second 500,000," Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff said in a statement. "That's incredible global momentum and adoption for businesses of all sizes."

Benioff is set to be present at a New York press event on Wednesday afternoon that will elaborate on the news. To commemorate the 1 million mark, Salesforce will be donating a total of $1 million across an array of ten nonprofit organizations: the Acumen Fund, the Bridge School, the Bronx Lab School, Endeavor, Kiva.org, Room to Read, San Francisco Connect, San Francisco General Hospital, Tibet House, and TransFair USA.

In addition, in a bold move the company is debuting a new software product at Wednesday's New York event. This is a new software feature called "Salesforce to Salesforce," which allows clients to connect with other companies that have existing Salesforce accounts. Using a social networking model, a company can pay to "invite" another company to share Salesforce data and engage in "cross-company collaboration" for a fee of $1,200 per year per connection.

"Just as Facebook is revolutionizing how individuals connect, Salesforce to Salesforce is revolutionizing how companies connect and share business information," George Hu, Salesforce's executive vice president of products and marketing, said in the company's release. Salesforce is also a member of Google's OpenSocial developer project.

According to Salesforce, it should be a welcome addition to the business-to-business market. Citing statistics from market research firm IDC, the company estimated that $3 billion was lost in 2006 due to a poor B2B integration infrastructure that "has met with high failure rates due to cost, complexity, and inability to scale."