10 cloud computing companies to watch

Who uses the service: Social networking vendors and other companies that need help managing cloud-based servers, including ShareThis, TagCow, DoInk, and iWidgets.

Company name: Salesforce.com 

Founded: 1999

Location: San Francisco

Cloud offering: Salesforce.com's flagship is a set of CRM tools including salesforce automation, analytics, marketing and social networking tools. A second major offering is Force.com, a platform for building Web applications and hosting them on the Salesforce infrastructure.

Why we're watching it: Salesforce.com helped pioneer the software-as-a-service market, which has now been lumped into the umbrella term "cloud computing." With Force.com, Salesforce is moving beyond SaaS into the platform-as-a-service market, which could revolutionize the way businesses build and deliver applications to end users and customers.

CEO: Marc Benioff, also the founder and chairman of Salesforce.com, spent 13 years at Oracle in a variety of executive, sales and product development roles.

How Salesforce.com got its start: Benioff founded Salesforce.com with the goal of creating an information management service that could replace traditional business software technology, the company says. Initial funding was provided by investors including Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

Who uses the service: 55,400 customers in many industries including financial services, communications and media, energy, healthcare and retail.

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