In its attempt to bring social streams into the enterprise, Salesforce is taking its Chatter messaging service and making it freemium. Unlike most freemium services which start out free, and then add on premium features for a price, Salesforce is going in the opposite direction. Chatter started out as an additional $15/user/month service, but perhaps the uptake wasn’t what CEO Marc Benioff had hoped it would be. Now most of the basic features will be free (as, arguably, they should have been from the beginning), and premium features will be available for power users at the $15 price as Chatter Plus.
Chatter first launched in private beta last February, and then opened up in June. Chatter gives employees a realtime feed of what is going on in their company. You can follow other co-workers, but also documents, data, and accounts. It is tied into Salesforce.com, and all the apps built on top of the Salesforce platform (although that is now extra, see below). So for anyone who uses Salesforce, Chatter provides a realtime intelligence feed.
Chatter Free will include the following social features:
For $15 a month per user, Salesforce will offer premium features in Chatter Plus, including the ability to follow accounts and contacts, a dashboard and reports, Q&A, better security, and integartion with AppExchange apps.