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Salesforce has purchased startup Clipboard, which provides a Web content clipping and social bookmarking service.  

Terms of the deal were not announced, but news reports indicate the price was about US$ 12 million. The company’s VC funding, from such investors as Andreessen Horowitz and Index Ventures, was about US$ 2.5 million.

140,000 Users

Clipboard provides the ability to collect and share Web-based content, inviting comparisons to

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Pinterest, Evernote, Snip.it and Instapaper, among others. It was available as a beta in October of 2011, launched last May, and released an iPhone app in September. The service allowed users to employ a desktop bookmark to assemble and share Web content into boards and to “like” others’ posts. Clipboard automatically posted to a private location, and Web content of all kinds often retained their original functionalities, such as videos or Google Maps.

In an announcement on its website. Clipboard hailed the “bittersweet news,” which offers a “much larger scale” but “will irreversibly change” the startup’s relationship with its users. The company said that, in the nearly two years of its independent life, 140,000 users created almost 3 million clips, which were shared with over a million users. The growth rate of the user base was reportedly about 40 percent month-over-month. The switchover date is June 30, and, until that final day, existing Clipboarders can export their clips for offline use. After the shutdown, all saved clips will be erased.

Clipboard within Salesforce

The focus of the Clipboard team will be to build similar capabilities within Salesforce, and the company’s tools will be discontinued. The CEO, Dr. Gary Flake, has worked at Microsoft, Yahoo and Overture. He will become VP of Engineering at Salesforce, and the core engineering and design team will work out of Salesforce’s Seattle office.

The acquisition will provide Salesforce with yet another tool for knowledge management, research and sharing among teams, with application for sales, CRM and marketing departments. It could also indicate the company’s intention to provide a suite of tools closer to the overall functionality of, say, an Evernote.