I wrote about CubeTree last October when they were finalist (and eventual winner) in the Enterprise 2.0 LaunchPad. News just out today that they’re to be acquired by SuccessFactors for $20 million with a three year, $30 million earn out clause.

There’s been a flurry of commentary around this deal – here’s a quick analysis from my perspective.

Salesforce.com have got significant exposure of late with Chatter – despite it being beta (at best) there has been a huge flurry of interest from third parties too either integrate chatter into their applications, or built on top of chatter. Salesforce’s strategy seems to be one of land-and-expand – with Chatter being the tool to build adoption further up it’s product offering.

SuccessFactors (and other vendors for that matter) has remained somewhat silent through all of this. At the recent SuiteCloud conference (see disclosure) I took part in a session where CEP Zach Nelson was questioned about the role of social in what they do – he made it clear it’s a area of huge interest for them, but one they haven’t got anything concrete to offer at this stage.

With this acquisition, SuccessFactors get’s an already built and inherently social offering that they can then backend into their own application to find a way to use a similar approach as that taken by Salesforce with Chatter.

In terms of the numbers, the extreme long length of the earn out clause means that, for all intents and purposes, this is a $20 million acquisition. Not bad for a company that’s only had a product for six months or so but chump change to SuccessFactors and worth spending if for no other reason than to head off any competitors from making a similar acquisition.

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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