Force.com and AppEngine Join Forces

I’ve seen a couple of articles covering the announcement surrounding GOOG and Salesforce.com (SFDC) linking up their services, purportedly for the betterment of their collective customers.  It’s interesting to see how the different players are coming together in the cloud space, and what alliances are being formed to create space and opportunity.

What I don’t quite get is what they really believe they are accomplishing.  Connecting up these services is good, in the context of plenty of users on either end asking for this sort of thing.  As I have written about before, the AppEngine framework really drives developers down the path of building specific types of applications.  Those applications, by and large, are very consumer focused in nature.  The connection between a SFDC prospect (or customer) and a user of a GAE application is one that I don’t make.  There simply isn’t a center of gravity there.

Let me put this another way.  California has a reasonably size deployment of refineries.  That would be SFDC.  So they decide to hook up with a petroleum company (GOOG) to build a pipeline somewhere.  They decide, for whatever reason, to build it to the state of Washington (AppEngine).  Hey, it makes sense.  Let’s connect up refining capacity to a market.  Unfortunately, according to the Department of Energy, WA has “few fossil fuel resources.”  I’m not trying to be pejorative or anything, but does GAE really have a robust ecosystem of applications, and, more to the point, a future large potential market of applications, to support such this effort?  Given the assets at the disposal of GOOG and the potential for cross-sell with SFDC, I am surprised that this was the path they went down.