Heroku will gives Salesforce a Ruby application development platform in addition to its VMforce platform-as-a-service for Java developers.
Salesforce says its Ruby and Java platform services position the company as a leader in "Cloud 2" app development, but the acquisition also significantly raises the profile of the open source Ruby language.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said in a statement that "Heroku is the leading Ruby application platform and Ruby is the language of the future, driving the next generation of cloud applications that are real-time, social and mobile. With Heroku, our platform can become the cornerstone of the next-generation of cloud computing."
Heroku and Salesforce officials have pledged that the Ruby development platform won't change. In a blog posting last month, the Heroku team wrote that "Heroku will always be focused on developers above all else. Salesforce.com deeply understands why that is valuable and is making an enormous bet that we will continue to make developers happy. Not only does Salesforce.com want us to continue on unchanged, but they hope through this merger some of Heroku's philosophies will rub off on them."
But it was clear from the comments posted on the blog that some Heroku users are skeptical that Heroku will be able to remain open and independent despite pledges that nothing will change.
The Heroku platform powers more than 110,000 social and mobile cloud applications. Salesforce says its platforms will help the company take a greater share of the public cloud services market, projected by IDC to reach $55.5 billion in 2014.
"Cloud app platforms are redefining how applications are built and run, with an order of magnitude improvement in developer productivity and business agility," stated Heroku CEO Byron Sebastian. "We're excited about accelerating Heroku's and Ruby's momentum in leading this industry transformation."
Salesforce said the acquisition will help it attract developers, customers and ISVs who want "an open, scalable and trusted Cloud 2 platform. Heroku and salesforce.com share a common vision of providing an open and portable programming environment that doesn't require customers to take on the expense or maintenance headaches that come with buying and deploying hardware and software. In fact, Heroku was built with the same multi-tenant philosophy that is the hallmark of Salesforce.com's Force.com platform."