Collaboration platform opens up beyond existing customers
Cloud computing maven salesforce.com has opened its networking and collaboration platform Chatter to a wider audience with the launch of Chatter.com, which will be available to anyone with a business email address.
Chatter was first announced in November 2009 and hit general availability in June 2010. Originally it was available to existing salesforce.com customers for a monthly fee, but the service went free in December last year alongside a paid for premium version. This was shortly after a major revamp was announced, which introduced more features influenced by Facebook and Twitter.
Now the company is opening Chatter out the non-saleforce.com customers. Launching on Monday, Chatter.com will be available free of charge to anyone with a valid business email address. New social network-like features will be introduced such as the ability to ‘like’ a post, @replies and trending topics. These features will also be rolled out to Chatter users. The company hopes that new users will be tempted to sign up for other salesforce.com products.
Speaking to CBR about the announcement, Tim Barker, VP strategy, EMEA, called Chatter.com a, "Private social network. Over 500 million people use Facebook and are comfortable with how it works. We want them to be as productive in their work life as they are at home. But we’re not trying to create a consumer product. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook taught the world about better collaboration, and we want to bring that to the enterprise."
Barker also confirmed that an Android Chatter app will soon be released, possibly within the next few weeks. Chatter is already available on iPhones, iPads and BlackBerry devices.
To help salesforce.com reach a wider audience the firm will be advertising at the Super Bowl in early February. The commercials were devised with the help of Black Eyed Peas front man will.i.am. "We really need to launch Chatter.com in a big way. I can’t think of anything bigger to do than launch it at the Super Bowl," CEO Marc Benioff told the Wall Street Journal.