Fascination with Ozzies Presentation

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2007-09-17 Print this article Print

You said you were fascinated by Ozzies presentation. What fascinated you? Just the fact that Microsoft has committed to a SAAS presence? Yes, the fact that theyre into it and that they are beginning to internalize [and] having made the step of acknowledging multitenancy, which is kind of table stakes for being in this business. Once you get past to that step—and opposed to SAP and others who are still having that debate—once youre multitenancy, then you kind of think to yourself, What does this really mean? And you lay it out and you say, What is it going to take to get from here to there? And looking back to where we were in 2000, we knew we had to start thinking about operating as a service. We knew we were going to need a lot of iron to run this thing, and we had to think about how as a company we operate server infrastructure for our customers. You have to think about the stack, what are the services and identity management.
Its just interesting to see somebody approach that problem from step one. And I think its fantastic. Its such an exciting time in the software and enterprise application industry.
Id rather get my office online. Thats going to be better for us because the more stuff thats on the Internet, the easier it can interact with everything else. Thats why we have such a great relationship with Google. I was curious what you thought because I think Ozzies made a lot of progress, but he obviously has a long way to go even in getting the message out broadly. Theres a little bit of a thing that they just cant shake yet. Theyll ultimately shake it, but they still are very defensive about the role of software. And you can hear it. They say its not about services, its not about the Internet; its about software plus services. And what are they saying? Theyre not communicating to us. Theyre not talking to customers—customers have said they want this as a service. Theyre saying to like the 14,000 people they have working on software internally, "Dont worry, were not going to require you to rearchitect yet." Theres something inauthentic about that. And … I feel bad for Ray because I truly believe Ray Ozzies a true visionary. Its like, let him go. Dont saddle this vision. Nobodys going to be upset if you have this services vision and its not 100 percent intellectually aligned with software. Its like IBM. IBM did mainframes and they did PCs. It was OK. It wasnt like some great intellectual challenge. They didnt say, "Well, it was a PC, but it had to be connected to the mainframe." It wasnt like IBM would only sell you a mainframe if it had PCs hanging off of it. And thats the same thing that theyre [Microsoft] doing. And its reflective of an internal organization, its transparent that thats the case. Its like, Come on, get over it. Its fascinating to see how companies are responding to these changes. So you welcome it then? Absolutely. Our vision, [Salesforce founder and CEO] Marcs [Benioff] vision since starting the company is pretty simple: Its the end of software. And when I think of the word "software," the first thing that comes to my mind is Microsoft. And when Microsoft gets up in front of the entire investment community—frankly, one of the most important audiences for the operation of a company—and basically says, "This is our strategy to handle the end of software," that is an enormous, profound validation of your strategy. And not to speak for anybody else, the expectation isnt that Salesforce is going to exist and every other companys going to go away. No, its that were going to have a bunch of new companies on the Internet, and were going to have bunch of existing companies transitioning to the Internet. So … I give Microsoft a lot of credit. For Ray Ozzie to get up there and do that … SAP isnt doing that, Oracle isnt doing that. But thats what the knock was, that initially people felt like Microsoft couldnt really articulate their strategy. And frankly, there was less real content when they first started talking about it. The reality is even now there were a lot of slides and then when it came time to demo, all they did was talk about Silverlight. But then again, Microsoft is spending real money on data centers, and there is some activity for them. But its very, very early days. I remember when Microsoft made the change in its messaging for its strategy, and it became software plus services. The company did a lot to reinforce that. What are your thoughts on how that went? To be honest, I dont want to get in too deep about Microsoft, but one of the things theyve gone out of their way to do is try and say we dont believe in that vision. One of the things that Ray Ozzie did that I thought was just weird at Mix 07 was to say, "Guess what, Salesforce has an offline client. Yeah, and it won PC World Editors Choice in 2003." Were not hiding this fact. We dont have any great philosophical issue. We believe in rich devices and rich clients connecting to Internet services. Our problem is not with the client. Silverlights great. My problem is the server. My problem is Windows Server 2003, not Silverlight. The things that are putting the bane on IT organizations are not the clients. We dont have this issue. Page 3: Salesforce Focuses on Developers

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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