Consolidation in the cloud computing sector has continued with Salesforce.com's $582m buy-out of collaborative office suite company Quip, which was founded barely three years ago.
The Quip acquisition will extend Salesforce's cloud services into territory hitherto dominated by Microsoft's Office 365 email and office offerings, as well as pitching Salesforce against Google Docs.
Quip's cloud service is intended to enable teams to work together on documents, including plans, spreadsheets, word processing, images and task lists. It also features chat channels, contextual chat, inline commenting, permissions and real-time updates, and has an offline mode enabling individuals to work away from network access. Customers include web tools company New Relic.
Salesforce invested in Quip as a startup and already had a substantial stake in the company, putting it in pole position to complete any acquisition should CEO Marc Benioff choose to swoop.
The company raised some $45m in venture funding with other investors, in addition to Marc Benioff and Salesforce Ventures, including venture capital groups Benchmark and Greylock, and individual investors Yuri Milner and Peter Fenton.
Quip co-founder and CEO Bret Taylor will remain at the helm of the company for the time being, although Quip's technology will almost certainly be integrated into Salesforce.com, and cross-sold to Salesforce's existing customers.
"Salesforce and Quip share the same philosophy about software: it should be in the cloud, built for the mobile era, and be inherently social," wrote Taylor and fellow co-founder Kevin Gibbs in a blog post.
"Salesforce pioneered the shift to enterprise cloud computing, and Quip has been working since 2012 to reimagine a productivity platform for teams that allows them to be more connected, more collaborative and get more work done."
The acquisitions by cloud and software giants are rapidly reshaping both landscapes, with blocs emerging that look likely to dominate computing for the foreseeable future.
Taylor is a former Facebook chief technology officer and the co-creator of Google Maps and the Google Maps API, while Gibbs is one of the creators of Google Suggest and the Google App Engine.
Taylor joined Facebook in 2009 when FriendFeed, the company of which he was CEO, was acquired by Facebook for $50m. He left in 2012 to found Quip, which emerged from ‘stealth' mode in July 2013. Taylor was appointed to the board of directors of Twitter in July.
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