The Wall Street Journal reports that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) may form a partnership with Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) to attack Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) customer management software franchise. The Journal writes that the product "could be a Web-based offering that integrates some of Google's online services such as email and instant-messaging with those of Salesforce.com, whose "customer-relationship management" tools help salespeople track their accounts."
The deal would be unusual for Google, which has a track record of using its tremendous programming talent pool to create its own products. In other cases, it has acquired companies that have developed software that Google needs to compete, especially with Microsoft. But Salesforce.com has a market cap of $5.3 billion and its product offerings are fairly narrow.
Saleforce.com does have almost 32,000 customers and 575,000 subscriptions worldwide, according to the company. Tapping into that audience would give Google a very large customer base for marketing its new web-based suite of business software.
Perhaps Google should buy Salesforce.com and skip the partnership phase.
Douglas A. McIntyre is a partner at 24/7 Wall St.