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When creating or editing a Salesforce User, there is a picklist field that lets you assign a specific User License. In my Developer org, there are several options, two of which are confusing to me: Salesforce and Salesforce Platform.

What is the difference between these two license types?

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Hey and welcome to salesforce on Stack Exchange! Just FYI, I found a great answer in the form of the docs by a google search :-)… – bigassforce Feb 26 '13 at 22:32
Thank you! That was perfect! That article actually answered my follow-up question about whether or not Accounts and Contacts would be accessible. Seems like they're not so much a CRM function as a "core platform" function. Now I need to figure out if Person Accounts can be accessed by "Salesforce Platform" users. – Vivek M. Chawla Feb 26 '13 at 22:37
Cool! Feel free to repost that link, I'll upvote it and you can mark the question as answered. @VivekMChawla – bigassforce Feb 26 '13 at 23:22
Thank you! I wrote up an answer, but I don't have the rep to post it for another 6 hours. I'll post it tonight once the waiting period expires. Thanks again for helping me out! :D – Vivek M. Chawla Feb 26 '13 at 23:28
@user10014 Access to Leads, Opportunities, and Forecasts would be lost to any users who do not have Salesforce licenses. If you do purchase the licenses, you will have access to all of them. – Vivek M. Chawla Jun 20 '14 at 20:02
up vote 26 down vote accepted

My thanks to bigassforce, who found this Article for me to reference.

Salesforce licenses are designed for users who require full access to standard CRM and AppExchange apps. CRM apps are anything that requires access to Standard Objects like...

  • Leads
  • Opportunities
  • Forecasts
  • Cases
  • Solutions

Salesforce Platform licenses are designed for users who only need access to custom apps, and NOT the standard CRM functionality. Salesforce Platform users DO have access to the "core" Salesforce Standard Objects and functionality, like...

  • Accounts
  • Contacts
  • Reports
  • Dashboards
  • Documents
  • Custom Tabs

So, if a user only needs to access custom or AppExchange apps, it's OK to assign them a Salesforce Platform license. On the other hand, if a user needs access to any CRM functionality (eg Sales or Service Cloud), they must be assigned a Salesforce license.

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So just to confirm, a user with a Salesforce Platform license wouldn't be able to create/update user records? Trying to figure out how to configure a platform license for external connections to update user, account, and contact. – user13433 Nov 27 '14 at 17:33
@Dannycheeko I did some digging, and it would appear that you're right. Standard Platform users can not create / update user records. If you take a look at the Object Settings for the "Standard Platform User" profile, you'll see a number of objects that have a "--" where the Object Permissions would be. It's not saying "No Access". It's more like "This doesn't exist for you, move along". :-) – Vivek M. Chawla Dec 4 '14 at 2:28
@Dannycheeko Quick update: It turns out that a Platform User CAN edit portions of their OWN user record (makes sense...they should be able to change their basic info). They can also see other user's User Record, but no editing. – Vivek M. Chawla Dec 4 '14 at 2:38

In addition to what Vivek said, Salesforce licences have much more administrative permissions than Salesforce Platform licences. These include:
- Ability to manage internal users
- Authoring Apex
- Managing Package licences
- Managing sharing
- Managing login access policy

There are many more administrative rights. Go to the profiles and compare Administrative Permissions tab on the two licences for a more detailed/updated comparison.

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Great point, DavidJ! Thanks for the additional Info :-) Also, welcome to Salesforce Stack Exchange! – Vivek M. Chawla Nov 20 '14 at 19:24

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