Salesforce Launches iTunes-like Store For AppExchange

Salesforce has figured out a way to monetize the AppExchange marketplace. Today at a lunch event in San Francisco, CEO and chairman Marc Benioff announced AppStore, an online store for enterprise software as a service (SaaS).

AppStore will be the one-stop shopping place for on-demand software, starting in Q1 of 2007. Developers and partners will be able to sell their programs directly through the AppStore and Salesforce will make a referral fee, based on the performance of the product.

“AppExchange has been a big hit but we’ve consistently had people ask us, ‘But what is your strategy to monetize AppExchange?'” Benioff said. “So we thought, ‘What if we took the iTunes concept to complete the transaction?’ This has been our vision for a long time. In fact, we bought the AppStore domain before we ever launched AppExchange.

Currently, AppExchange has over 430 applications from over 230 Salesforce partners, built on the Apex on-demand platform. AppStore was designed to allow partners and customers find each other and complete their transactions easier.

Software in AppStore is listed by type such as Human Resources or Mapping software. Users will see sponsored results before general listings. The sponsored results will be the ones paying higher commission to Salesforce. Once a program is selected, an administrator can complete the purchase with a Salesforce login, which knows how many users the administrator typically purchases for.

AppStore was modeled after Amazon, eBay, and iTunes.

“It’s a lot like iTunes but instead of Mariah Carey, you may have Composition Management,” said George Hu, chief marketing officer for Salesforce.