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Quip joins growing stable of Salesforce apps

With the addition of Quip, Salesforce users can perform word processing tasks without leaving the CRM provider's platform -- which may spell bad news for Microsoft.

The recent acquisition of word processing company Quip adds to Salesforce's buying spree and foray into other software fields, as the industry leaders in the business application market continue participating in a software arms race.

On the heels of Oracle's purchase of NetSuite to beef up its ERP function and Microsoft's splashy acquisition of LinkedIn, Salesforce purchased Quip for $582 million on Aug. 1, plus previous investments, and e-commerce company Demandware for 3.8 billion.

The addition of Quip to the Salesforce app lineup is the latest example of industry leaders racing to become the go-to business platform, rather than just application suites.

"What Salesforce would like is for people to go to work and get on Salesforce and never have to leave," said Sam Hopkins, an account executive at Affirma Consulting, a software implementation and consultancy based in Bellevue, Wash.

"Salesforce decided to not be just an application that people go to for managing sales contacts. They want to be this massive platform where you can get everything done for your business in one place," he added. "That's the trend you're seeing and they're buying companies like Quip to help with word processing."

Rather than leave Salesforce to work on documents or spreadsheets through Microsoft Office or Google Docs, integrating Quip's capabilities allows Salesforce customers to create and collaborate on documents directly with Salesforce apps.

What Salesforce would like is for people to go to work and get on Salesforce and never have to leave.
Sam Hopkinsaccount executive, Affirma Consulting

"In addition to integrating with Chatter and what already exists within Salesforce, I think it will make the experience of managing content seamless, as well as updating and co-editing it with other team members regardless of where you are," Hopkins said. "Having that all be in Salesforce is a super powerful offering for them."

Quip founder and CEO Bret Taylor outlined the Salesforce-Quip acquisition in a blog post, stating that the two companies share the same philosophy on cloud-based software.

"As part of Salesforce, we will be able to expand our service more quickly and reach millions of people all over the world," Taylor said in the blog post. "The possibilities of mixing data, content and communication are amazing."

Early indications point to Quip keeping its name and identity, with Taylor tweeting that he will still run the company -- something that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff retweeted during a stretch of Benioff tweets highlighting the news.

Maintaining the Quip brand recognition gained since its launch in 2012 would be smart for Salesforce, according to Hopkins. "Usually what Salesforce does is they keep companies running as individual products with strong Salesforce integration for a short period of time until they can understand not just from a functionality standpoint, but from a branding and marketing perspective,  what to do next," Hopkins said.

With other companies, such as Pardot, Salesforce kept the name and brought it on the platform, so the brand remains but it is 100% Salesforce, he explained.

"The last thing they want is to absorb the company and have the brand recognition that Quip has built disappear," Hopkins said.

And while Hopkins doesn't see Quip being able to gain a share of the word processing marketplace that Microsoft and Google have, the addition of Quip to Salesforce apps can be a boon to users. Some examples of Quip features that are sure to be useful to Salesforce users include living documents like seating charts or office maps and marketing content.

"There is an appeal for Quip, especially for things that aren't just word processing," Hopkins said. “The benefit is for people and companies very entrenched in the Salesforce platform, they will now have an easy way to manage and create documents."

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