Partnerships may be playing the role usually reserved for merger and acquisition activity in the CRM world right now. Generally a company makes a purchase when it wants to capture the benefits of another business' R&D or established market base. However, at the moment it appears that the desirable targets are too big to swallow, and the result is more partnering between the big guys and the really big guys. Salesforce has been pursuing this strategy for most of the last year with Amazon, Google and IBM.