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I've searched through official documentation and other sites that I searched on Google, but I cannot understand exactly some things about applications that are sold via AppExchange and its licences:

1 - Are apps on AppExchange considered just add-ons to the Salesforce organisations? If I have a CRM licence, but install the MailChimp app, the MailChimp app is 'attached' to my organisation, so I can use it, right? It would be comparable for having a software, and purchasing an add-on for it?

2 - If a company provides an app on AppExchange, can users just buy the app licence and use it, or do they need to have a platform licence to access the app? For example, if my app uses features available only on Salesforce Enterprise Edition (for example: Integration via web service API), the users are required to have this edition, and purchase the add-on separately. If a customer pays $125 a month to access Enterprise Edition, and the app costs $30 a month, then the pricing goes to $155 per user, correct? It is absolutely not possible for the user to pay only the app fee ($30) and continue using the platform, right?

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Are apps on AppExchange considered just add-ons to the Salesforce organisations?

Yes. Salesforce is a Platform as a Service (PaaS), so apps are indeed add-ons.

If I have a CRM licence, but install the MailChimp app, the MailChimp app is 'attached' to my organisation, so I can use it, right?

It's "installed," in a way analogous to how one installs software on their computer. If you've used a recent version of Windows, you're probably familiar with the Windows Store, and the four OSes for phones (Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Firefox) also use a similar design model. Granted, it's a pretty rough analogy, but is suitable for our purposes.

It would be comparable for having a software, and purchasing an add-on for it?

Yes. You could visualize it as an operating system and software from the "store" for that operating system, or you could visualize it as a video game that has DLC (Downloadable Content) available for it. The concept is the same.

If a company provides an app on AppExchange, can users just buy the app licence and use it, or do they need to have a platform licence to access the app?

It depends. Salesforce.com has two types of agreement models available on the AppExchange, commonly referred to as ISV and OEM.

With an ISV agreement, the client needs to first purchase CRM licenses, then they can install additional apps from the AppExchange for whatever license fee applies. Both salesforce.com and the ISV receive payments in accordance with the respective license agreements. The ISV pays a percent of their collected license fees to salesforce.com as part of the program. There are two separate bills the client must pay.

With an OEM agreement, the client gets their licenses direct from the third-party, who is provided licenses from salesforce.com directly. The OEM can choose to charge whatever they want per license, and salesforce.com takes a percent of the collected license fees as part of the program. However, the licenses don't include CRM functionality unless explicitly negotiated by the OEM. The client has just one bill to pay, and they are using Salesforce as the PaaS, but without CRM functionality.

For example, if my app uses features available only on Salesforce Enterprise Edition (for example: Integration via web service API), the users are required to have this edition, and purchase the add-on separately. If a customer pays $125 a month to access Enterprise Edition, and the app costs $30 a month, then the pricing goes to $155 per user, correct? It is absolutely not possible for the user to pay only the app fee ($30) and continue using the platform, right?

There's a misunderstanding here. ISV apps from the AppExchange do not necessarily require Enterprise Edition, even if they use the API. Many apps that use the API require only Professional Edition, which would take the Salesforce license down to about $75/month, with an add-on license of $30/month, would make the total only $105/month. The reason why this works is because ISVs are given a special code that, when included in the header of an API call, allows the ISV to complete the call, even if the client doesn't have API access.

Referring to your previous question, however, the nature of the agreement depends on if the app needs CRM functionality. If the app cannot exist without CRM licenses, then the subscriber needs both CRM and ISV licenses (e.g. would be paying $155 from the example question). If the app is an OEM style app, then you only need the OEM licenses unless you also want CRM functionality.

Again, virtually every app out there is an ISV model license, requiring both Salesforce and ISV licenses to run, but there are apps where this isn't true. Multiple OEM packages can be installed in a single org, potentially creating an platform that has multiple useful features, but without leads, campaigns, opportunities, solutions, or cases. OEM licenses do get Accounts and Contacts.

For example, conceptually, you could buy OEM ERP licenses, and gain access to inventory, order tracking, return merchandise agreements, and so on, and also buy a payment processing OEM solution, and you'd have a total warehouse application app that doesn't need CRM licenses to operate. Of course, you lose out on things like forecasting and lead management, but if they're not necessary for an organization's purposes, they could save a lot of money by not buying CRM licenses.

  • You are "the" man! Thanks for the clarification. One more thing: OEM licences are like "hey, I want an app built on the Salesforce Platform" and then the customer reaches to the third party and says "hey, build this app for me in a salesforce environment", right? I didn't understand correctly the difference between OEM and ISV. AppExchange apps can be sold on both models? I understood that OEM doesn't get access to CRM, but the rest of the platform, while ISV depends on which edition the customer has (Professional, Enterprise, and whatnot). – Renato Oliveira Jul 27 '16 at 13:43
  • An even better question would be: What if the App doesn't require the CRM objects but it is part of the ISVforce agreement? The customer still needs a platform licence and the app licence, correct? – Renato Oliveira Jul 27 '16 at 14:00
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    @RenatoOliveira Both ISV and OEM have processes you have to go through. Therefore, it's substantially more complicated to be an OEM/ISV partner (but I did work for one such company, so I know it's possible). That said, if you've got an ISV agreement, then they need CRM. If you've got OEM, they do not. They're set up in different ways. Granted, an OEM app could also be an ISV app, but the inverse is not necessarily true. – sfdcfox Jul 27 '16 at 14:08

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