December 8, 2010 – Enterprise cloud computing firm salesforce.com announced Wednesday a definitive agreement to pay $212 million for Heroku, a Web application development company based on the Ruby platform.  

Ruby has become the leading development language used to write social and mobile applications, and more than 105,000 Web apps run on Heroku’s application platform, according to the company website. salesforce has made previous agreements with Google and VMware on application language, and this acquisition is an acknowledgement of both the growth of Ruby use and of salesforce’s own troubles with PaaS coding, says John R. Rymer, vice president at Forrester Research.

Rymer notes that Heroku’s work is primarly in customer-based development, in contrast with salesforce’s enterprise development efforts.

“I think this is a sign of an expansion of their base of business. It’s people building consumer applications and consumer oriented services, and on both scores this is a very interesting move,” says Rymer.

In a news release, executives for both companies lauded the potential of their combined capabilities to deploy cloud application platforms into mainstream business enterprises.

“The next era of cloud computing is social, mobile and real-time. I call it Cloud 2,” said Marc Benioff, salesforce chairman and CEO. “Ruby is the language of Cloud 2, and Heroku is the leading Ruby application Platform as a Service for Cloud 2 that is fueling this growing community. We think this acquisition will uniquely position salesforce.com as the cornerstone for the next generation of app developers.”

Heroku was founded in 2007 and is based in San Francisco.

The proposed deal is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2011, and is subject to customary approvals.

 

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