Other comments from the cloud panel included the following:
Maritz said we are moving away from a device-centric world to an information-centric world, where all of us are "increasingly characterized by a body of digital information" that will outlast information. Girouard, who oversees Google's cloud-based apps, later noted that he views his Mac laptops and other clients as almost disposable devices because his information is stored in the cloud. Is anyone surprised?
In answer to O'Reilly's question about what's wrong with the current cloud, Lynch, whose company provides very cloud-friendly technologies in Flash and the AIR development platform, noted that the cloud service providers offer very proprietary stacks, so once users are on them, they're stuck. Maritz agreed, noting that it will be a challenge for developers because they have to make big bets about who to build for. This is the same argument people reserved for Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and other enterprise software providers for years. What is old, is new.
Yet Benioff pointed to the integrations between Salesforce.com and Google as examples of interoperability that provides greater value to customers. Salesforce.com also integrates with Amazon and Facebook. But a few integrations do not constitute a truly open ecosystem.
Girouard defended the margins for cloud computing, arguing that a cloud computing solution will have greater margins over time because of the value for customers. Maritz said two keys are needed for high margins: a unique product and a platform with an ecosystem. Coming from a leader of Microsoft Windows and Office, it's hard to argue with that. Benioff said it takes time to build up margins, noting that IBM told Ellison that his company had low margins in 1986.