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CEO

Deborah Hellinger, a spokeswoman for Oracle, and Jim Dever, a spokesman for SAP, declined to comment. Oracle considered buying Buddy Media before opting to acquire its peer Vitrue, Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison said last week. Salesforce’s acquisitions are focused on technologies that can boost its product lines. The San Francisco-based company keeps track of the startups that are popular with its customers through the Salesforce platform. (More than a thousand entrepreneurs have built applications for Salesforce’s system.) Buddy Media’s social-marketing tools have been integrated. Marketo, Eloqua, and CloudApps have built on the platform, says Mike Rosenbaum, a senior vice president of the company’s AppExchange and platform operations.

Salesforce also keeps track of applications on other marketplaces. Several months before acquiring Manymoon in 2011, Whiteley says he interviewed customers and partners, including Google (GOOG), and watched the social-task-managing application maker retain a top spot in Google’s marketplace. Only after that did he call the CEO for a meeting, he said. “We’d only been in business two years,” says Amit Kulkarni, 37, whose tool became Salesforce’s Do.com. “We never really thought we’d be acquired that soon.”

Both Kulkarni and Mike Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media, said they were charmed by a company at which the founder remains in place. Kulkarni says he wanted freedom and was given an office separate from headquarters, while Lazerow says Benioff “sounded like he’d been in the market 10 years” when explaining social-enterprise tools. “I chose Salesforce for a reason, and a big part of that reason is it is not those other companies,” Lazerow says. “It has software that is easy to use and works—led by a leader in the field.”