On Friday, Salesforce.com said it would shut down do.com, its once-heralded task-management service. The closing is an odd one. The service has a loyal following and is lauded for its good design and usability. But even odder may be what the closure means for desk.com, the Salesforce customer service platform, and the timing with Dreamforce, its annual event starting in a few weeks.
The Do.com service will close January 31 and it’s not accepting new registrants. The company is developing an export tool for customers using Do.com and will stop charging for the service starting November 1.
Do.com served as a task-management service designed to help teams manage tasks, contacts, notes and projects. It emerged from the Manymoon acquisition the company made in 2011. It had a following from people like Jeisson Neira, founder of IQThink, an international consulting company that is starting to develop its own projects.
In a phone interview, Neira said his company, a Salesforce partner, has had up to 25 people using Do.com for projects. He switched to it from Podio. He said Do.com was easier to use than Podio and it had features such as integration with Dropboox that the team really liked. He was notified that the service would have a data export tool available on November 15. The Salesforce Dreamforce event starts the next week so he is hoping the company has something planned, either to make it a part of the AppExchange or another service. He pointed out that Salesforce.com has excellent enterprise products but nothing for project management. “It is such a great project management tool and they paid so much money for it,” he said.
Manymoon was one of the most popular services on the Google Apps marketplace and LinkedIn application directory before Salesforce bought the company for $25 million to $35 million, according to a story at the time by Kara Swisher of AllThingsD.
Klint Finley, writing for ReadWriteWeb in 2011, commented that the service looked like it would integrate with Salesforce Chatter, the enterprise social network. It was also perceived that Manymoon would be part of a more unified collection of services that integrated with the Chatter service. For example, in January 2011, Salesforce acquired DimDim, the video conferencing service, but there has been practically no news about DimDim since the acquisition. It was also supposed to integrate with Chatter, but nothing has come of it since the announcement.
The shut down raises questions about the Do.com integration with desk.com. Earlier this year, Salesforce made it easier to integrate desk.com and Do.com. A customer can add tasks to the desk.com environment.
Salesforce.com is expected to make a big mobile push for its Dreamforce event so it is feasible that it will make some related announcement about Do.com. But if so, why risk losing existing customers with such an announcement? What will happen to the desk.com integration? I have contacted Salesforce but have not heard back from them. It just doesn’t make any sense to say the Do.com service is closing down and then later say it will be part of something new. Making the customer a pawn does not exactly instill confidence in a service, as there are plenty of other options such as Jive Software or Wrike.
The Do.com closure raises questions about the Salesforce acquisition strategy. The company has bought several startups but has a spotty record. Manymoon was a great independent service but now looks like it has met its demise as part of Salesforce.com.