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How Advice from Steve Jobs Inspired the AppExchange

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When you think “App Store,” you might think Apple. But Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was the original owner of the “App Store” trademark.

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

Back in the early 2000s, the advice of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs inspired the birth of the AppExchange, the Salesforce apps and services store.

When you think “App Store,” you might think Apple. But Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was the original owner of the “App Store” trademark. This stemmed from a conversation Benioff had with Jobs, when seeking business advice. In a CNN interview shared on CNBC, Benioff 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, Benioff gave the “App Store” trademark and to Apple. 

“When I first joined Salesforce, my title was director of the App Store,” said Leyla Seka, now chief operating officer of contract management software company IronClad. “We didn’t know what that meant. Now we all do.” 

With a slight title change, Seka became the first director of AppExchange in 2008. “It was at that moment that the greatest professional adventure of my life began,” she added. “I witnessed the creation of the largest and most vibrant enterprise application ecosystem.”

Over the last decade, AppExchange has grown to over 7,000 apps and experts supporting nearly every department and industry. It’s a proven ecosystem, with over 10 million installs and over 117,000 customer reviews. And 91% of Salesforce customers have installed at least one AppExchange app.

Jobs’ prescience was spot on. The application economy works, and customers and partners are collaborating and innovating every day with AppExchange. Working together in the Salesforce ecosystem, there’s no stopping what we can accomplish.


Amanda Nelson
Amanda Nelson Sr. Director, AppExchange Comms & Community

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.

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