Go to AppStore.com and it will connect you with, well, the App Store. And you’ve got Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to thank for it.
In his recent book Trailblazer, Benioff tells the story of how Steve Jobs gave him the idea for what became the first enterprise app store. And how Benioff later thanked Jobs by signing over the AppStore.com domain.
In 2006, Salesforce became the first company to offer enterprise software as a service through launching its own online store. The idea dated back to 2003, when Benioff and some of his colleagues visited Steve Jobs in Cupertino. Jobs advised that Salesforce needed to build a cloud software ecosystem. Today, that idea sounds obvious for enterprise companies. But it was a fresh concept to him at the time.
In Tailblazer, Benioff writes that:
“I was feeling stuck. To catapult the company into the next phase of growth, we needed to make a bold move… Sometimes seeking guidance from mentors is the only sure way to survive these bouts of inertia. That’s why I decided to make a pilgrimage to Cupertino.”
AppStore.com: From Salesforce to Apple
Jobs didn’t lay out his entire vision for what the app store would be. (Jobs had been talking about an app store for years by this point.) But Benioff was struck by the idea. He says he later sketched out the concept on a napkin while in a restaurant.
“One evening over dinner in San Francisco, I was struck by an irresistibly simple idea. What if any developer from anywhere in the world could create their own applications for the Salesforce platform? And what if we offered to store these apps in an online directory that allowed any Salesforce user to download them?”
Benioff had his lawyers register the AppStore.com domain name the next day. Ultimately, he didn’t use it. While Salesforce launched its enterprise app store, it launched with the name AppExchange.com. AppStore.com was dormant until Apple announced the App Store in 2008.
Straight after the Apple keynote, Benioff said that he went backstage and signed over the AppStore.com domain name to Apple.