Today the news broke that Salesforce has agreed to acquire word processing and document collaboration product Quip for a reported $750 million. Yes, Salesforce is spending a reported three quarters of a BILLION dollars on a word-processing app.
Well, on the one hand this MAY help Salesforce build the kind of AI-powered productivity tools SugarCRM already previewed as our vision on the SugarCon stage in June. But really, this is also a competitive move against Microsoft, which has already made major inroads updating its MS Office Suite for the cloud and aiming at owning the cloud office desktop world just as it pretty much owns the Windows/Mac OS based desktop market.
Either way, this is another large acquisition far afield from the salesforce automation, customer support and lead management products that make up the core tenets of a solid CRM suite. Salesforce is diversifying in a (some might say) desperate series of moves to find new growth areas. Salesforce has done very little, given its size, to promote truly innovative CRM in recent years - and this is yet another proof point.
We will have to wait and see what this means for the stock and bottom line - but given the lack of CRM focus, current customers of Sales and Service cloud etc. seem the real losers here.
Salesforce, as we now know, had tried to acquire LinkedIn earlier this year before the social networking company made the $26 billion jump into the arms of Microsoft. While Salesforce and Microsoft sometimes work together, they also compete, and adding Quip into the mix at Salesforce could one way for Salesforce to do that better (and counterbalance the fact that Microsoft is building and acquiring more products that compete with Salesforce on the CRM front). Quip, when it first launched as a mobile-only native app (it now has a desktop and web version), was described by my colleague Josh as a timely disruptor to the clumsy and very incumbent Microsoft Word.