After an initial announcement in February that they’d “work together”, Salesforce and UK based SMB vendor Sage have officially announced a strategic partnership. Under this new partnership, Sage will begin offering its customers a solution called Sage Life that is built on the Salesforce1 PaaS. Sage Life is aimed at helping SMBs streamline their customer, supplier and employee data management and bring that information into the cloud. Optimized for mobile and social, Sage Life aims to help small companies connect their customer, accounting, payroll and finance data into one system accessible from any device and any location. A mobile control center lets employees view data in real time, and the system’s social focus helps connect colleagues, customers, partners, suppliers and other stakeholders. “We’ve invested over a long period of time in our most significant development effort ever to build a platform to help our customers build applications,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said during a press event. “Salesforce1 is now in the hands of hundreds of thousands of users, and today is by far the most exciting day ever for our platform, and for small businesses.” The deal could also provide an alternative explanation for the recent wave of rumors regarding a possible acquisition of Salesforce by an unknown party. These rumors were fueled by reports of Salesforce hiring a team of lawyers and financial advisors for what seemed to be fielding takeover options, but given the recent announcement- they might have just sorted issues with this new partnership. However, some claim that these reports aren’t enough to shut down the acquisition rumors: “This is an announcement that’s been planned for months,” Claims Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research Group. “It sounds like a straight partnership and not much more. Someone could still be trying to buy Salesforce”. Back to Sage Life- according to Sage CEO Stephen Kelly, the idea behind Sage Life is that small businesses be able to view real time data on just one system. Kelly disclosed that small businesses on average use between four and eight software systems, which makes Sage Life an important tool for small business community. Both Sage and Salesforce do not expect customers to face difficulties integrating Sage Life into their systems.