The companies' rivalry has been fairly friendly to date. Zendesk has been a longtime Salesforce.com partner and its website describes the companies' relationship as "fantastic." Zendesk has even pledged to raise some $1 million to support the building of a new children's hospital in San Francisco. In 2010, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and his wife gave that fundraising effort an early boost with a $100 million donation.
But Salesforce.com views Desk.com more as a potential competitor to more ad-hoc ways small-business owners are handling customer service now, such as through email, Bard said.
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