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Microsoft and Salesforce.com to link wares in global partnership

The companies will integrate Microsoft's Windows and Office with Salesforce.com's CRM software

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Microsoft and Salesforce.com have become corporate buddies, pledging to integrate their flagship products in what they're calling a "global, strategic partnership."

The agreement calls for Salesforce.com's CRM software to be integrated with Microsoft's Windows OS, Azure cloud computing platform and Office suite, the companies said Thursday.

"Working together we'll deliver new solutions that connect the customer insights of Salesforce to the cloud productivity of Office 365, the cloud platform of Azure and the mobility of Windows, so our customers can do more," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in the statement.

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff added that "together with Microsoft, we are building bridges that allow customers to be more productive."

Specifically, the companies plan to release Salesforce1 for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1, a product that the companies said will let customers access Salesforce from their Windows devices. A preview is slated for the fall, with general availability expected next year.

They also plan to roll out Salesforce for Office 365, which will let customers access, share and edit Office documents from within Salesforce and on Salesforce1 via Office Mobile, Office for iPad and Office 365.

Salesforce for Office 365 also will let customers use OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online as storage repositories for Salesforce, as well as use Salesforce and Outlook together with a new app. It will also be possible with this product to visualize and analyze Salesforce data using Excel and Power BI.

The agreement raises immediate questions about the impact it could have on Microsoft's own Dynamics CRM product, which competes against Salesforce.

Nadella and Benioff will hold a press conference this afternoon to discuss the deal.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.



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