Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff provided some interesting comments about cloud computing, Oracle and Facebook at the Web 2.0 Summit here Oct. 17.
SAN FRANCISCO -
In an unusually tame appearance at the Web 2.0 Summit, Salesforce.com
(NASDAQ:SFDC) CEO Marc Benioff declined to lash out at rival Oracle and its
mercurial CEO Larry Ellison and even praised the company for its success.
Web 2.0 Summit
co-host Tim O'Reilly engaged the straight-shooting Benioff in a word-association
game by throwing out company names such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL), HP (NYSE:HPQ), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) and
asking the CEO to say what came to mind.
said "Oracle," Benioff paused and answered in diplomatic fashion:
"I think that they are actually a strong company because of all of the
acquisitions they've made, and they have a very good strategy."
prompting, Benioff did, however, reiterate his caution that companies must
"beware the false cloud" Oracle and other virtualization software
vendors offer as private clouds that come on disks. True cloud computing, he
explained, is hosted, multi-tenant and lives on the Web-not on a disk.
cloud discussion has fiery pretext and comes one month after Oracle's Ellison
denigrated Salesforce.com at the Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco Sept. 21. Ellison essentially wrote off Salesforce.com as a one-off
software as a service (SAAS) application for CRM.
One day later
at the same conference, Benioff said Oracle's new Exalogic server boxes are
"false cloud" computing environments.
At the Web 2.0
Summit, Benioff cited Facebook, Amazon and eBay as examples of cloud-computing
enablers. "That's not about building a virtualized machine inside your
data center and saying, "Oh, I have cloud, too."
actually saved his greatest praise for Facebook, which he claimed epitomizes
what the next-generation consumer operating system should be like.
"Everything I want in a consumer operating system, I see in
Facebook," Benioff added.
asked if Benioff looked to model Salesforce.com after Facebook, Benioff said
"yes" without explicitly saying yes, noting that he "would like
to be doing as many amazing things as Facebook is doing."
Facebook is setting the direction for where the enterprise application space is
going, from the way it works on tablet computers and smartphones, to its
ability to easily enable third-party developers to write software for the Facebook
He noted that
it's extremely relevant for his enterprise customers, because Facebook is where
their customers are going, and it's how their employees are being trained on
how to collaborate with each other and work with customers on the social
network of 800 million-plus users.
has already taken several steps to leverage the environment Facebook has
wrought, including two significant software purchases.
allure to boost CRM in Salesforce.com's own business led Benioff and Co. to acquire Heroku
, which enables
developers to build Facebook applications from within Facebook itself using
Ruby on Rails, Java, Python and other languages.
Benioff and his team earlier this year also acquired social
analytics provider Radian6 to help it get a handle on reputation and brand
. Salesforce.com uses Radian6 software to provide social
media clarity across Sales Cloud, Service Cloud as well as the company's
Force.com application platform.
The CEO also
lamented the lack of engineering and other high-tech talent he and at least 100
companies he knows of are experiencing.
recession, he said that not enough people in the U.S. understand the economic
opportunity that lies in high tech and that we need to show them the