Salesforce Says No to Silverlight

CEO Marc Benioff says he and his customers only have interest in Adobe's technology.

SAN FRANCISCO - Despite using Adobe's Flash, Flex and AIR technologies, CEO Marc Benioff said he has no interest in Microsoft's competing Silverlight technology.

"We're not looking at Silverlight today," Benioff said at the Adobe Engage event here Feb. 25. "We have not had the demand. Today the action and excitement remains in the Flash, Flex and AIR area."

AIR is the newly released Adobe Integrated Runtime, which enables developers to use proven Web technologies to build rich Internet applications that deploy to the desktop and run across operating systems.

Sun Sachs, an engineer with AOL who also spoke at the Adobe Engage event, echoed Benioff's sentiments. Discusssing Silverlight as an engine for creative types to use to deploy advertising content, Sachs said Silverlight can't seriously compete with Adobe's offerings.

Sachs said he has no interest in checking out Silverlight, despite his assertion that Microsoft will likely continue to support and improve Silverlight, because "they are simply so far behind" Adobe in terms of technology maturity and market share.

Meanwhile, he said if anything, after Adobe's fanfare-filled launch of AIR here, he expects Microsoft might make a splash with some kind of announcement with Silverlight in the mobile space, since that's currently one area where Adobe is vulnerable.

Benioff touted's partnership with Adobe and crowed over the new AIR technology. Yet he also took time to extol the benefits his company offers customers.

"We're an innovation drive, catalyst and evangelist," Benioff said. "The area we've pioneered is multi-tenancy, and multi-tenancy serves companies of all sizes. We're the enterprise standard for software-as-a- service [SAAS]."

Benioff said offers a PAAS (platform as a service) for developers.

"We're empowering every developer globally; now every developer can plug into PAAS," he said, noting that Salesforce offers such features as database as a services, business logic as a service and user interface as a service. handles 130 million transactions a day, 160,000 SOL statements a second, 1.6 billion API calls a month, and a host of services for developers through various programs throughout its and AppExchange initiatives.

Meanwhile, Steven Fisher, vice president of Salesforce's program, demonstrated's use of Adobe AIR.

Fisher showed an example of an Adobe AIR-based application as a front end to "All the data and logic and workflow and all that is stored on our system," he said. "So it's a very nice blend of a rich client experience with the backing of our system."

Meanwhile, Benioff said is rolling out a new content management system that features Web 2.0 capabilities. "Instead of the typical folders, it uses tagging, etc.," he said. "If you put it up against Documentum, it looks like a 21st century application versus something old from the 20th century."

In addition, he said that "because we are the largest software-as-a-service vendor in the world, we have the responsibility to show others how to do it."

Benioff also said Salesforce will be moving to provide collaborative applications.

"Partner management is incredibly important," he said. "Our customers have asked us to build collaborative applications to help them manage their partner relationships. I think that will be a trend to collaborate outside of your enterprise. I see content management and collaboration, along with CRM [customer relationship management] moving over to the software-as-a-service model."