Among Salesforce's many announcements at Dreamforce comes Chatterbox, a Chatter product extension taking direct aim at Dropbox and other cloud storage and collaboration services.
Share and Share Alike
The mass of cloud storage and collaboration services are already struggling with differentiation and are now facing another competitor, this time in the rather large form of Chatterbox from Salesforce. While the likes of Microsoft's Yammer and SkyDrive won't feel particularly threatened, those for whom cloud storage is their only gig, might see this as a big, dark shadow.
Integrating with other Salesforce products, Chatterbox allows users to communicate via the Chatter service (which already has a huge userbase) and share documents and files through the cloud. By adding file storage, distributed workforces can now communicate and work on the same documents in a neatly organized and unified, manner.
This pitches it right against Microsoft's recent Yammer acquisition, and the likes of Huddle (which has just gone Federal) will now face a greater challenge in the collaboration space. Now that Chatter will work with other social networks, you might not need to all be on Salesforce's products to benefit, although Salesforce would rather you were.
Who Leads in Collaboration?
With all these services rapidly coming to the same conclusion and business plan, it will be those with the largest entrenched customer bases, marketing budgets and growth rates that will see success. Salesforce's integrated approach sees users able to share and access files from anywhere, and be notified of file changes or additions within their Chatter feed.
The service's mobile features include access to files on the go, with practical social interaction helping all users keep on top of a task, project or situation. With the other new features in Chatter, Salesforce is in a strong position to eliminate other services that have been used as stop-gaps, but will it help get Salesforce into new enterprises who are happily using a mix of services?