NetSuite is to cosy up to Salesforce.com in a move that brings together two software-as-a-service (SaaS) powerhouses for firms seeking broad on-demand platforms on which to run their businesses.

NetSuite's SuiteCloud Connect for Salesforce.com will hook up the two platforms via four integration partners: Boomi, Pervasive Software, Cast Iron Systems and Celigo. The move surprised some observers as NetSuite and its Californian neighbour have been at each others' throats for some time. NetSuite has mocked Salesforce's lack of generalledger and enterprise applications while Salesforce CEO has pointed to the relatively minor scale of NetSuite revenues compared to his own company. However, both are symbiotically connected to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison who was a majority investor in NetSuite, a significant minority investor in Salesforce, and had Benioff on executive staff at the database giant.

Paul Turner, NetSuite product marketing manager, said the integration meant "the coming together of the two leading business clouds", combining the finance, accounting and e-commerce capabilites of NetSuite with the sales force automation stronghold of Salesforce.

"People say 'haven't you been at war with Salesforce' but it's a pure numbers game," Turner added. "Salesforce has 50,000 sales force automation customer but very few are penetrated with other on-demand solutions. They're using QuickBooks, sage, Great Plains, SAP or Oracle, even though they've already bought into the value of SaaS."

Integration could go even further as Turner said NetSuite would "definitely consider" joining Salesforce's AppExchange marketplace for complementary applications.

Some observers are bound to wonder about the possibility of a formal combination of the two businesses -- but that would require corporate egos to be checked in at the negotiating table.