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FoundedFebruary 3, 1999; 23 years ago (1999-02-03)
FoundersMarc Benioff
Parker Harris
Dave Moellenhoff
Frank Dominguez
HeadquartersSalesforce Tower
San Francisco, California, United States
Key people
Marc Benioff
(Chairman, CEO)
Parker Harris
ProductsSales Cloud
Service Cloud
Marketing Cloud
Commerce Cloud
Community Cloud
ServicesCloud computing
RevenueIncrease US$17.1 billion (2020)[2]
Decrease US$297 million (2020)[2]
Decrease US$126 million (2020)[2]
Total assets Increase US$55.13 billion (2020)[2]
Total equityIncrease US$33.89 billion (2020)[2]
Number of employees
49,000 (2020)[2]
Tableau Software, Inc. is an American cloud-based software company headquartered in San Francisco, California. It provides customer relationship management (CRM) service and also sells a complementary suite of enterprise applications focused on customer service, marketing automation, analytics, and application development.

In 2020, Fortune magazine ranked Salesforce at number six on its list, "100 Best Companies to Work For," based on an employee survey of satisfaction.[3]


The company was founded on February 3, 1999 by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff, together with Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff, and Frank Dominguez as a software as a service (SaaS) company, and was launched publicly between September and November 1999.[4][5]

In June 2004, the company had its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol CRM and raised US$110 million.[6] Early investors include Larry Ellison, Magdalena Yesil, Halsey Minor, Stewart Henderson, Mark Iscaro, and Igor Sill, a founding member of Geneva Venture Partners.

In October 2014, Salesforce announced the development of its Customer Success Platform to tie together Salesforce's services, including sales, service, marketing, analytics, community, and mobile apps.[7] In October 2017, Salesforce launched a Facebook Analytics tool for business-to-business marketers.[8][9] In September 2018, Salesforce partnered with Apple intended on improving apps for businesses.[10]

In February 2020, co-chief executive officer Keith Block stepped down from his position in the company. Marc Benioff remained as chairman and chief executive officer.[11]

On December 1, 2020, it was announced that Salesforce would acquire Slack for 27.7 billion USD.[12]

In February 2021, Salesforce announced that CFO Mark Hawkins would be retiring from his position after six years of working for the company; however, retaining a position as CFO emeritus until October. Amy Weaver was selected as his replacement.[13][14]

Services[edit]'s customer relationship management (CRM) service comprises several broad categories: Commerce Cloud, Sales Cloud,[15] Service Cloud,[16] Data Cloud[17] (including Jigsaw), Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud[18] (including Chatter), Manufacturing Cloud,[19] Analytics Cloud,[20] App Cloud, Vaccine Cloud,[21] IoT and with over 100,000 customers.[22]



Salesforces' main services are tools for case, task and issue management it also gives customers tracking abilities for their raised cases and conversation features for social networking Web sites, provides analytical tools and other services including email alert, Google search, and access to customers' entitlement and contracts.[23]

Lightning Platform[edit]

Lightning Platform[24] (also known as is a platform as a service (PaaS) that allows developers to create add-on applications that integrate into the main application.[25] These third-party applications are hosted on's infrastructure.[26] applications are built using declarative tools, backed by Lightning and Apex (Application Express), an object-oriented proprietary Java-like programming language for,[27][28] as well as Visualforce, a framework[29] including an XML[30] syntax typically used to generate HTML. The platform typically receives three complete releases a year.[31] As the platform is provided as a service to its developers, every single development instance also receives all these updates.

In the Spring 2015 release a new framework for building user interfaces – Lightning Components – was introduced in beta.[32] Lightning components are built using the open-source Aura Framework[33] but with support for Apex as the server-side language instead of Aura's Javascript dependency. This has been described as an alternative to, not necessarily a replacement for, Visualforce pages.[34]

According to September 2009 Gartner Group report,[35] had over 1,000 customer accounts. As of 2013, the platform has 1.4 million registered developers.[36]

Lightning Base Components is the component library built on top of Lightning Web Components.[37]

Experience Cloud[edit]

Experience Cloud (formerly Community Cloud) provides Salesforce customers the ability to create online web properties for external collaboration, customer service, channel sales, and other custom portals in their instance of Salesforce. Tightly integrated to Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and App Cloud, Experience Cloud can be quickly customized to provide a wide variety of web properties. Experience Cloud combines the functionality of the former Salesforce Customer and Partner Portals with some additional features.[38][edit], previously Rypple, is a social performance management platform that helps managers and employees improve work performance through continuous coaching, real-time feedback, and recognition.[39] It is marketed as a solution for sales performance, customer service, marketing, and as a service that can be employed by human resource departments., then known as "Rypple", was founded by Daniel Debow and David Stein, who wanted to create a simple way of asking for feedback anonymously at work.[40] The company was formed in May 2008 and their client list included Mozilla, Facebook, LinkedIn and the Gilt Groupe. Rypple "'reverses the onus on the demand for more feedback' by getting employees to build and manage their own coaching networks".[41]

In September 2011, Rypple announced that they had hired Bohdan Zabawskyj as its Chief Technology Officer.[42]

In 2011, Rypple developed a more formalized management methodology called OKR ("Objectives and Key Results") for Spotify.[43] Rypple also partnered with Facebook to create "Loops", short for "feedback loops", which gathers feedback from co-workers, "thank you's", progress against goals, and coaching from supervisors into one channel for a "rich, robust, continuous performance review".[44]

In December 2011, announced that they would acquire Rypple. The transaction was completed in 2012 and Rypple was rebranded as in September 2012.[45]


Launched in 2005, the Salesforce AppExchange is an online application marketplace for third-party applications that run on the platform. Applications are available for free, as well as via yearly or monthly subscription models. Applications available range from integrations with SharePoint to mobile approval management.[46] As of June 2016, it features 2,948 applications which have driven 3+ million installs.[47] The "AppExchange" is also a place customers can search for cloud consulting partners to help them implement the technology in their own organization. Cloud consulting partners for Salesforce include large companies like IBM's "Bluewolf" and Accenture as well as smaller ones like Cloudreach.[48]


Announced in 2017 and launched in 2019, Salesforce's myTrailhead is an online training platform that can be customized for the specific needs of its customers. The platform extends functionality which Salesforce built to provide users with training content specific to their usage of Salesforce and enables users to create and publish their own training content and programs.[49]

Blockchain platform[edit]

Announced on May 29, 2019,[50] Salesforce launched a blockchain platform[51] based on Hyperledger Sawtooth to facilitate building blockchain network and apps integrated with CRM.[52][53][54][55]

Salesforce, announced in April 2019 a blockchain offering on top of Hyperledger Sawtooth[56]

Retired or end-of-life[edit][edit], previously known as Jigsaw, was a cloud-based automated system for acquiring and managing CRM records within a user's account.[57] was also an online business directory of companies and business professionals that is built, maintained and accessed by a worldwide community of over a million subscribers.,[58] The information consisted of what is commonly found on a business card. competitors included services such as Dun & Bradstreet/Avention and ZoomInfo. was made up of three products: Connect, Clean and Prospector.

In April 2018, Salesforce announced it would retire Connect on May 4, 2019.[59]

Salesforce also announced it will wind down Clean and Prospector, and these services will close on July 31, 2020.[60][edit] is a saas help desk and customer support product accessible through the cloud. is owned by and was previously known as Assistly. is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

After being acquired by for $50 million in 2011[61] Assistly was re-branded as in 2012[62] as a customer support software.[63] is a Saas customer service application. The product differentiates itself from Salesforce's other service platform in that specifically targets small businesses with its features and functions.[64] integrates with a variety of products and third-party applications including Salesforce CRM, Salesforce IQ,[65] Atlassian JIRA, Mailchimp[66] and other apps. also supports up to 50 languages.[67]

Salesforce announced the retirement of, replacing it with Service Cloud Lightning. After March 13, 2018 no new licenses were sold, and the retirement date was announced as March 13, 2020.[68][edit] was a cloud-based task management system for small groups and businesses, introduced in 2011 and discontinued in 2014.[69][70][71] Salesforce did not offer any reason for shutting down the service, however, it provided an Export tool to save data entered within the interface. The domain was sold to a startup in 2014.[72]


Salesforce users can configure their CRM application. In the system, there are tabs such as "Contacts," "Reports," and "Accounts." Each tab contains associated information. Configuration can be done on each tab by adding user-defined custom fields.[73]

Configuration can also be done at the "platform" level by adding configured applications to a Salesforce instance, that is adding sets of customized / novel tabs for specific vertical- or function-level (Finance, Human Resources, etc.) features.

Web services[edit]

In addition to the web interface, Salesforce offers a SOAP/REST Web service application programming interface (API) that enables integration with other systems.[74][75]


Salesforce works on Model–view–controller architecture.


Apex is a proprietary programming language provided by the platform to developers similar to Java and C#. It is a strongly typed, object-oriented, case-insensitive programming language, following a dot-notation and curly-brackets syntax. Apex can be used to execute programmed functions during most processes on the platform including custom buttons and links, event handlers on record insertion, update, or deletion, via scheduling, or via the custom controllers of Visualforce or Lightning Experience pages.

Due to the multitenant nature of the platform, the language has strictly imposed governor limitations[76] to guard against any code monopolizing shared resources. Salesforce provides a series of asynchronous processing methods for Apex to allow developers to produce longer-running and more complex Apex code.[77]


In 2014, Salesforce made public the front end of its platform, called Lightning.[78] This component-based framework is what the Salesforce mobile app is built on. Salesforce built on this framework in 2015 by releasing the Lightning Design System,[79] an HTML style framework with default CSS styling built in. This framework allows customers to build their own components to either use in their internal instances or sell on the AppExchange.

The Salesforce Lightning App Builder is a tool for rapid application development of responsive web interfaces. This interface allows for different screens to be put together based on Lightning components. This can be used as layouts for records or specific applications.

Lightning Experience, released in 2016, is the new redesigned interface in Salesforce for processes enhancement. Since then all the apps available on AppExchange need to be Lightning and those built on Classic have to migrate to Lightning as Classic is not to be updated any more by Salesforce. The platform offers an option for developers to employ migration techniques to enable the new user interface and switch to Lightning.[80]


A discussion panel at Salesforce's Customer Company Tour event that focused on customer relationship management

Salesforce[81] is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional headquarters in Morges, Switzerland (covering Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Singapore), India (covering Asia Pacific minus Japan), and Tokyo (covering Japan). Other major offices are in Toronto, Chicago, New York City, London, Sydney, Dublin, Hyderabad, Vancouver, San Mateo, California, Indianapolis,[82] and Hillsboro, Oregon.[83] has its services translated into 16[84] different languages and as of July 31, 2011, had 104,000[85] customers and over 2.1 million subscribers.[86] Salesforce moved its Midwest Regional headquarters to Indianapolis in 2017.

Salesforce Tower in New York City.

Standard & Poor's included Salesforce, at the same time as Fastenal, into the S&P 500 Index in September 2008, following the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their removal from the index.[87]


  • Marc Benioff, Chairman & CEO, co-founder of the company (1999– )[88]
  • Parker Harris, Co-Founder, oversees product strategy (1999– )[89]
  • Bret Taylor, President, Chief Product Officer (2017– )[90]
  • Suzanne DiBianca, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations and Chief Philanthropy Officer (2000– )[91] Chief Communications Officer (2017– )[92]
  • Mark Hawkins, President and Chief Financial Officer (2014– )[93]
  • Elizabeth Pinkham, Executive Vice President, Global Real Estate (2000–)[94]
  • Tony Prophet, Chief Equality Officer (2016– )[95]
  • Stephanie Buscemi, Chief Marketing Officer (2018– )
  • Cindy Robbins, President and Chief People Officer (2006– )[96]
  • Amy Weaver, President, Legal and General Counsel (2013– )[97]


Salesforce was credited to have a strong corporate culture and its HR practices were said to have been a huge driving force behind its success story.[98][99] Salesforce’s corporate culture is based on the concept of Ohana, a deep-rooted support system nurtured inside the company.[100] Its culture emphasized certain core values, behaviors, and experiences. The leaders at Salesforce believed that its culture fostered dialogue, collaboration, recognition, and a sense of family, and helped its employees drive the company’s purpose, vision, and impact[98].

However, in the aftermath of a 2021 world-wide outage of all their services, in an uncharacteristic move, Salesforce chief availability officer Darryn Dieken placed the blame on an individual engineer stating, "We have taken action with that particular employee."[101] The same year, another executive, Cynthia Perry, resigned over discrimination in the workplace.[102]

On September 10, 2021, Benioff tweeted that the company is prepared to help any employee who wishes to move out of the state of Texas, following the abortion in Texas legislation announced on September 1, 2021.[103]


For the fiscal year 2019, Salesforce reported revenue of US$13.28 billion, an increase of 26% year-over-year and 26% in constant currency. The CRM giant reported subscription and support revenues of US$12.41 billion, an increase of 27% year-over-year. Salesforce ranked 240 on the 2019 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States companies by revenue.[104] "Reaching New Heights on the Fortune 500 List| CRM". Retrieved March 17, 2020.

Year[105] Revenue
Net income
Total Assets
Price per Share
2005 176 7 280 5.19 767
2006 310 28 435 8.62 1,304
2007 497 0 665 11.69 2,070
2008 749 18 1,090 13.43 2,606
2009 1,077 43 1,480 11.37 3,566
2010 1,306 81 2,460 24.21 3,969
2011 1,657 64 3,091 32.93 5,306
2012 2,267 −12 4,164 35.73 7,785
2013 3,050 −270 5,529 45.94 9,800
2014 4,071 −232 9,153 57.26 13,300
2015 5,374 −263 10,665 70.66 16,000
2016 6,667 −47 12,763 74.55 19,000
2017 8,392 180 17,585 90.26 25,000
2018 10,480 127 21,010 132.21 29,000
2019 13,282 1,110 30,737 155.10 35,000
2020 17,098 126 55,126 49,000

IT infrastructure[edit]

Salesforce migrated to Dell servers with Advanced Micro Devices processors running Linux from Sun Fire E25K servers with SPARC processors running Solaris in 2008.[106] The company uses the Momentum platform from Message Systems to allow its customers to send large amounts of email.[107]

In 2012, Salesforce announced plans to build a data center in the UK to handle European citizens' personal data.[108]

In 2013, Salesforce and Oracle announced a nine-year partnership in which Salesforce will use Oracle Linux, Oracle Exadata, Oracle Database, and the Java platform to power Salesforce's applications and SaaS platform.[109]

In 2016, Salesforce announced that it will use Amazon Web Services hosting for countries with restrictive data residency requirements and where no Salesforce data centers are operating. In July 2017, the first such Salesforce instance went live in Canada, with Salesforce announcing that this enabled signing a number of Canadian customers.[110]


The following is a list of acquisitions by Salesforce:

  • Sendia (April 2006) – now Salesforce Classic[111]
  • Kieden (August 2006) – now Salesforce for Google AdWords
  • Kenlet (January 2007) – original product CrispyNews used at Salesforce IdeaExchange and Dell IdeaStorm – now relaunched as Salesforce Ideas
  • Koral (March 2007) – now Salesforce Content
  • Instranet (August 2008) for $31.5 million – now re-branded to Salesforce Knowledge
  • GroupSwim (December 2009) – now part of Salesforce Chatter[112]
  • Informavores (December 2009)[113] – now re-branded to Visual Workflow
  • Jigsaw Data Corp. (April 2010),[114] – now known as
  • Sitemasher (June 2010) – now known as
  • Navajo Security (August 2011)[115]
  • Activa Live Chat (September 2010) – now known as Salesforce Live Agent[116]
  • Heroku (December 2010) – for $212 million[117]
  • Etacts (December 2010)[118]
  • Dimdim (January 2011)[119]
  • Manymoon (February 2011) – now known as[120]
  • Radian6 (March 2011) for $340M[121]
  • Model Metrics (November 2011)[122]
  • Rypple (December 2011)[123] – now known as
  • Stypi (May 2012)[124]
  • Buddy Media (May 2012) for US$689 million[125][126]
  • ChoicePass (June 2012)[127]
  • Thinkfuse (June 2012)[128]
  • BlueTail (July 2012) – now part of[129]
  • GoInstant (July 2012) for US$70 million[130]
  • Prior Knowledge (December 2012)[131]
  • EntropySoft (February 2013) for an undisclosed sum – now known as Salesforce Files Connect
  • (May 2013) for US$12 million[132]
  • ExactTarget (announced June 4, 2013) – now Salesforce Marketing Cloud for US$2.5 billion[133]
  • EdgeSpring (June 7, 2013) – now part of the Analytics Cloud[134]
  • RelateIQ (July 10, 2014) for US$390 million – now known as SalesforceIQ[135]
  • Toopher (April 1, 2015)[136]
  • Tempo (May 29, 2015) – now part of SalesforceIQ[137]
  • ÄKTA (September 2015) – for an undisclosed sum.[138]
  • MinHash (December 2015)[139]
  • SteelBrick (December 2015) for US$360 million – now re-branded to Salesforce CPQ[140]
  • PredictionIO (February 2016)[141]
  • MetaMind (April 2016) [142]
  • Implisit (May 2016)[143]
  • Demandware (announced June 1, 2016) – now Salesforce Commerce Cloud[144] for US$2.5 billion[145]
  • Coolan (July 2016)[146]
  • Quip (August 2016) for US$750 million[147]
  • BeyondCore (August 2016)[148]
  • Heywire (September 8, 2016)[149]
  • Gravitytank (September 2016)[150]
  • Krux (October 2016)[151]
  • Twin Prime (December 2016)[152]
  • Sequence (February 2017)[153]
  • Attic Labs (January 2018)[154]
  • CloudCraze (March 2018) - now Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud[155]
  • MuleSoft (announced March 2018) – For $6.5 billion[156][157]
  • Datorama (July 2018)[158]
  • Rebel Mail (October 2018)
  • (January 2019)[159]
  • MapAnything (April 2019)[160]
  • Bonobo AI (May 2019)[161]
  • Tableau (August 2019)[162] – $15.3 billion
  • ClickSoftware (August 2019)[163] – $1.35 billion
  • Diffeo (November 2019)[164]
  • Evergage (February 2020)[165]
  • Vlocity (February 2020)[166]
  • The CMO Club (March 2020)[167]
  • Slack Technologies (December 2020) – $27.7 billion [168]
  • Acumen Solutions (December 2020) – $570 million [169] [170]
Simplified timeline of Salesforce's biggest acquisitions, including only biggest ones.


Subject to a phishing attack[edit]

In November 2007 a successful phishing attack on a Salesforce employee compromised contact information on a number of Salesforce customers, which was then used to send highly targeted phishing emails.[171][172][173] Salesforce has stated that "a phisher tricked someone into disclosing a password, but this intrusion did not stem from a security flaw in [the] application or database."[174] The phishing breach was cited as an example of why the CRM industry needs greater security for users against such threats as spam.[175]

While the crowd-sourced method of building business contacts[176] has proven popular with recruiters, marketers, and sales professionals, it has also raised questions of privacy as most of the site's database is entered without permission from the person being listed. does, however, make it easy to remove business information on request as noted in December 2009 by TechCrunch.[177] However, recipients of these messages regard it as spam and at least one complaint about receiving more spam after attempting to remove one's address has been noted.[178]

Attempt to trademark Social enterprise[edit]

In July 2012, Salesforce applied to trademark the term "social enterprise" in the United States, the European Union and Jamaica where the term was in widespread use to describe businesses with a primarily social purpose. This was successfully challenged by a campaign called #notinourname which was launched by Social Enterprise UK, resulting in withdrawing their trademark application and agreeing not to use the term in their future marketing.[179][180]

‘Meatpistol’ presenters let go at Def Con[edit]

In 2017 at Def Con, Salesforce's Director of Offensive Security and a security engineer were fired on the conference room floor in front of several other attendees by an executive at the company after giving a talk. Word rapidly spread that two speakers had been released at the event.[181] The presentation was initially signed off on by the company; however, Salesforce's management team had an unexplained and sudden change of heart an hour before the event.[182] Salesforce's Director of Offensive Security had turned off his phone prior to the presentation and was unable to receive any communication from Salesforce prior to the presentation.[181] Reaction after the firings were swift, with the Electronic Frontier Foundation providing representation to the fired employees[181] and members of the security community opining "Salesforce undermined their credibility in the security community to a significant degree" and that "how they are perceived by the security community isn't top of their list of things they care about."[183] The presented MEATPISTOL tool was anticipated to be released as open-source at the time of the presentation, but Salesforce continues to hold back on releasing any of the code to developers or the public.[184] The terminated employees have continued to call on the company to open-source the software.[185]

RAICES donation refusal[edit]

The not-for-profit organization Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) rejected a US$250,000 philanthropic donation from Salesforce because the company has contracts with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The executive director of Raices, Jonathan Ryan, tweeted that "When it comes to supporting oppressive, inhumane, and illegal policies, we want to be clear: the only right action is to stop" in reference to the rejected donation.[186] Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff responded in an official statement that the company's employees "don't work with CBP regarding separation of families. CBP is a customer & follows our TOS. We don't have an agreement with ICE. I'm Proud of the Men & Women who protect & serve our country every day & I'm Proud of our Ohana."[187]

It was reported that, in a change to its acceptable-use policy,[188] Salesforce is barring customers from using its system to sell semiautomatic guns and other firearms.[189][190]

Tax avoidance[edit]

In December 2019, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that Salesforce was one of 91 companies who "paid an effective federal tax rate of 0% or less" in 2018, as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[191] Their findings were published in a report based on the 379 Fortune 500 companies that declared a profit in 2018.[192]


In March 2019 Salesforce faced a lawsuit by 50 anonymous women claiming to be victims and survivors of sex trafficking, abuse and rape, which alleges the company profited from and knowingly facilitated sex trafficking on the Web site (defunct since April 2018).[193] The lawsuit also pointed out that Salesforce was publicly promoting an anti-human trafficking campaign at the time of its work with Backpage.[194][195]

Salesforce Ventures[edit]

In 2009, in response to the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and the resulting decline in venture funding, Salesforce began investing in digital companies that used or integrated Salesforce platform.[196] This eventually became Salesforce Ventures, headed by John Somorjai[196][197] Since then various funds have been created to focus on specific areas — in September 2014 SFV set up Salesforce1 Fund, aimed at start-ups creating applications primarily for mobile phones. In December 2018, Salesforce Ventures announced the launch of the Japan Trailblazer Fund, focused on Japanese startups.[198]

As of August 2018, Salesforce Ventures reported investments totaling $1.2 billion in 275 companies covering a wide range of business models, including e-commerce (CloudCraze),[199] artificial intelligence (Figure Eight), online fraud prevention (Forter),[200] Accounting and Professional Services Automation software (FinancialForce)[201] and many other areas.[202] Its five largest investments Domo (data-visualization software), SurveyMonkey (online survey software), Twilio (cloud-communication), Dropbox (cloud storage), and DocuSign (secure e-signature company) account for nearly half of its portfolio.[203]

See also[edit]


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