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A new developer program will facilitate integration with Microsoft's Office applications.

There is perhaps no business application more ubiquitous than Microsoft's Office suite and many CRM vendors strive to integrate with Redmond in the hopes of fostering user adoption.

Today, San Francisco's upped the ante, creating the sforce Development Program for Microsoft Office. The program, an extension of's sforce integration development platform, offers an extension of's hosted CRM into Microsoft Office applications.

The developer program includes a plug-in tool kit with sample codes, allowing developers to access the application program interface. is also extending its On-Demand Marketplace, an online community launched last year that allows developers to reach's customer base, to include an Office applications category. Finally, the program adds dedicated message boards within the sforce development community for those integrating with Office applications.

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Increasingly, Microsoft is positioning its Office environment as a platform upon which applications can be built, said Adam Gross, director of product marketing for

In fact, took a similar approach when it released is no longer a browser-only application, insisted Gross. Now, more than 20% of traffic to is coming from outside of the browsers, such as PDAs and enterprise and desktop applications, he said.

"There are already a number of in-market solutions," Gross said. "There is one that sells specialized integration to an Exchange server for advanced calendaring between contacts and salespeople and another using Excel as a data cleansing and mining tool."

Sforce partners joining the program include VIPmail with Outlook integration, Pragmatech Software Inc. with Word Integration and CanyonBridge with Exchange integration.

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