The Wired One’s e-mail inbox started clogging up within hours after The 451 Group’s report calling for Google to buy Salesforce.com hit the Internet. Readers and tipsters wanted to whisper in Spencer’s furry ears their views on the subject, both pro and con.
One reader echoed comments from several industry analysts, noting, “Google doesn’t get enterprise sales. Google is a good consumer company, but really doesn’t belong in the enterprise. And it shouldn’t, else it would spread thin like Microsoft stuck between Advertising & ERP.”
Others took a less sanguine view. Reader Simon Gantley wrote that the Google-Salesforce.com proposal was the dumbest idea since Time Warner bought AOL. Ouch. “SF may make good sense to Google as a business partner, just as my banker makes a good business partner, but it would be a miserable marriage for all kinds of reasons.”
Those reasons include Google’s reliance on utility hardware and open-source software. Meanwhile, Salesforce.com runs on Sun mainframes, Solaris, Oracle and other platforms.
Another reason, said Gantley, is that Google is successfully taking over the desktop from Microsoft with its own applications, while Salesforce.com is all business apps and is failing to take share from companies such as SAP and Oracle. Both points are sure to spark debate.
Finally, Gantley observed that Salesforce.com is barely making money and has a huge cost structure to support, and that when Microsoft Dynamics is available via SAAS (software as a service), Salesforce.com is going to be hemorrhaging money. But the Sagacious Gato thinks this assertion is debatable. Microsoft has yet to prove its SAAS mettle.
So, who would benefit from buying Salesforce.com if not Google? Another reader suggested Oracle could benefit if it manages to completely digest its PeopleSoft, Siebel and BEA purchases. However, Spencer is convinced that Oracle is always ready to pull the trigger on a new acquisition and the word on the street is that it will continue to spend billions more in its relentless buying spree.
But that doesn’t mean Salesforce.com is a likely target for an Oracle buyout. The Clued-in Kitty can think of at least as many reasons against an Oracle-Salesforce.com buyout as reasons in favor of such deal.
Anyway, during the first week of June, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison was thinking of other things besides another corporate takeover. He was on board his BMW Oracle Racing team’s boat USA-17 participating in the Audi MedCup regatta in Marseille, France, in the run up toward another chance to take on the reigning America’s Cup champion, the Swiss Alinghi team.
Meanwhile, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff shared some tasty tidbits with customers at a downtown New York eatery named Butter. This time the Gastronomic Gossip, who was among the guests, eschewed his usual choice of the grilled haddock in favor of a rib eye steak washed down with a top-shelf Cabernet.
The abundance of treats had one guest wondering if the downtime customers suffer during upgrades could be shortened if Salesforce.com cut down on meal times. But Marc Benioff demurred, and purred that Salesforce is aiming to reduce upgrade windows to under 15 minutes, or just enough time for a post-dinner cat nap, which is exactly what the Portly Puss was ready for when the party broke up.