Keywords: Marc Benioff, Microsoft, Web 2.0, application service provider (ASP)
Marc Benioff talks about Microsoft:
"Q: This summer you're coming out with what you've described as an operating system for these on-demand applications. Doesn't this put you in the sights of Bill Gates, who's now calling you a rival?
A: Yeah, that's true. But we haven't really seen Microsoft take the leadership position in moving the software model forward. In fact, they recently announced that their competing product would be delayed until the end of this year and maybe even the first quarter of next year. That is just unreal.
Q: So you're saying that Microsoft is top-heavy and sluggish?
A: We've seen that with the BlackBerry, we've seen that with the iPod, we've seen that even with Firefox in the browser. Microsoft's models are breaking down in many areas."
Salesforce.com: The vision gets grander
"Salesforce.com started off as a simple thing. It was software running on the company's own computers that customers could use to manage their sales forces. By subscribing to Salesforce.com, customers avoided the cost and trouble of buying their own software and computers, setting up a system, and keeping it running. Over the years, Benioff added more capabilities, including tools that clients could use to customize their service and that independent software outfits could use to build related applications. That helped Salesforce.com round up over 13,900 customers with 227,000 individual subscribers.
Multiforce takes things a big step further. The technology, which is to be introduced in June, turns Salesforce.com into a platform upon which customers can run any number of on-demand applications--all of which run on its farm of computers and tap into one gigantic database. Computer users can essentially live their professional lives in the Salesforce.com interface and click back and forth between their most-used programs. This positions Salesforce.com as the counterpart in the online world to the role Microsoft plays in the PC world.
Benioff is so cock-sure about Multiforce's prospects that he violates one of the basic tenants of computerdom: Don't poke Microsoft in the eye. Microsoft entered the customer-relations management realm with traditional packaged software two years ago, but hasn't yet racked up the millions of users it needs for a business to register as a success for the software giant. 'Who's afraid of Microsoft? They’re not able to perform,' scoffs Benioff."
Source: Business Week
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