By eweek  |  Posted 2006-01-18 Print this article Print

Whats your vision for partners? Is it big system integrators that weigh more heavily in the success of AppExchange, or third-party developers? Part of it has to do with our core values of the company. We are trying to be democratic. We cant pretend to know whos going to be the most important partner. Will it be a big partner? Will it be some little unknown partner? We dont know. And so we very much have designed this so all partners of all sizes can play, and that we feel is that democratic principal in terms of growing this ecosystem. We feel there are plenty of niches for everybody. We dont know which of those niches are going to be most useful to us, and most useful to our partners. So we want to be able to allow the whole thing to grow.
Who are you keeping your eye on in terms of competition?
The ones we dont know about. Thats always. The best bet will be more companies like Salesforce that are moving very quickly and are willing to take an approach that leverages the very best of the technology. From a technology standpoint, what do you have on a company like SAP [AG], which is working on an on-demand platform, or Oracle [Corp.], which is acquiring Siebel [Systems Inc.]? We dont have their legacy. Thats what we dont have. We dont have the customers that hold them back. They have to spend the most … effort keeping their current customers happy and the market happy, with their renewals and things like that. The on-demand model is a very different model, and its hard to bridge that. So traditional companies always have that legacy. That would be the biggest issue. If theyre in the position of selling against their own product—thats the problem that Siebel has had, and I dont know how you solve that. The support revenue, the ripple effect of supporting four or five versions out there in the field, of customers that demand you support it, is very hard. You cant move your engineering team on to new things, because theyre all on maintenance. In terms of the AppExchange infrastructure, it sounds like everything is new—the hardwares new, the softwares new. Did you OEM components from third parties, or develop it all in-house? We do a refresh of this [technology]. With mirror force we have totally new hardware infrastructure that we had to build up with the new data centers. The software were constantly refreshing, so there are a lot of components that we are reusing. Were re-architecting the way we do that; you almost have to, to move forward and get faster and better and more reliable going forward. Whats the message you want to get to developers? We want to tell them to take a look at AppExchange, that they should get a developer account—its free and they should play. Thats what the beauty of this is: You dont know where that next killer app is going to come from, and I suspect it will be someone we dont know—a solitary developer or a small group of developers, a software team that will have a developer account they can sign up for on the Net, and they will turn around some great stuff. What I liked most about Java was working with the small, cutting innovative developers—little companies like WebLogic that became BEA [Systems Inc.]. Thats where a lot of innovation happens. Are you targeting any developer types? Its really across the board. In the alliances team, we are targeting across the board. It can be small companies, an individual developer from India, and some of the largest companies. We very much would like to be able to address all of those. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.


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