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How Advice from Steve Jobs Inspired the AppExchange

How Advice from Steve Jobs Inspired the AppExchange

Think app stores, think Apple. Right? That's not the whole story. Here's how the AppExchange came to be in 2006.

We’re posting a series of vignettes to celebrate Salesforce’s 20th birthday. Follow our digital scrapbook to get a behind the scenes glimpse of our history.


Back in the early 2000s, the advice of tech legend Steve Jobs inspired the birth of the AppExchange, the Salesforce store.

When you think “App Store,” you might think Apple. But Marc Benioff was the original owner of the “App Store” trademark. This stemmed from a conversation Marc had with Steve Jobs, when seeking business advice. In a CNN interview, Marc says Jobs told him, "You’ve got to build an application economy."

After brainstorming and focus group testing, Jobs’ advice became reality with the launch of AppExchange in 2006. Then in 2008, Apple launched the App Store. As a gift, Marc gave the “App Store” trademark and to Apple.



“When I first joined Salesforce, my title was Director of the App Store,” says Leyla Seka, now EVP of Mobile at Salesforce. “We didn’t know what that meant. Now we all do.” With a slight title change, Leyla became the first Director of AppExchange in 2008. “It was at that moment that the greatest professional adventure of my life began. I witnessed the creation of the largest and most vibrant enterprise application ecosystem.”

Over the last decade, AppExchange has grown to over 5,000 solutions for every department and industry. It’s a proven ecosystem with 89% of Fortune 100 companies using AppExchange apps, over 6.5 million installs and over 80,000 customer reviews. It has evolved to more than business apps, now offering Lightning Components, Lightning DataBolt Solutions, consulting partners, and developers.


With customer and partners working together in the Salesforce ecosystem, there’s no stopping what we can accomplish in the next 20 years. Happy Birthday, Salesforce.


Amanda Nelson drives the community and communications strategy for the AppExchange. She is a conference speaker, published author, and a social media professor. Nelson has worked in content marketing, social media, and community marketing for B2B tech startups and Salesforce since 2013. In addition to marketing, Amanda is passionate about writing, running, and border collies.

More by Amanda

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