Analysis: Google has $26.5 billion in its coffers, so it's become fashionable to wonder what big vendor Google could buy next, what statement it can make to shake the foundations of technology.
With a market cap of $11 billion, enterprise application maker Salesforce.com would be such a buy.
In a May 4 post on Silicon Alley Insider, entrepreneur Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry argued Google can't compete with Microsoft now that the software giant has launched Microsoft Office 2010 to peck away at Google's cloud computing collaboration software market. Gobry noted:
"We believe that if Google wants to become a significant player in the enterprise market, it needs to buy Salesforce now, at whatever price."
Gobry's argument has two points. The first is that Google would immediately gain some 72,500 customers, from smaller shops to several Fortune 500 companies, picking up "significant relationships with basically all the CIOs of the world's largest companies."
His second point is that Google would gain a true sales culture for the enterprise, a departure from its ad-driven salespeople.
He argued that Microsoft succeeded because it married a great engineering culture and sales culture. Google, he said, should buy the company and let Benioff run the enterprise division, assuming of course Benioff would be amenable to the purchase and his role.
Google and Salesforce.com are well acquainted, making the idea of a merger somewhat interesting. Salesforce.com integrates with Google Apps and the two vendors created hooks between the Force.com platform and Google's App Engine.
Raju Vegesna, technology evangelist for Zoho, which fights with Google in the SMB market for collaboration and with Salesforce.com in the low-end for CRM apps, said a Google-Salesforce.com marriage is not a good idea because their technology and cultures will clash.
First, he noted, Google uses open-source components and non-commerical software while Salesforce.com uses commercial software. "This means they would have to rewrite the entire thing in Google," Vegesna told eWEEK.
Say what you want about Google and Salesforce.com both playing in SAAS (software as a service), but Vegesna won't have it. Google's is an engineering culture with some ad sales people. Salesforce.com's is a sales culture with some engineers.