Salesforce.com Marc Benioff continues on his quest to vanquish the client/server model, calling for the world of software developers to convert to a multitenant, on demand platform. At least he has been consistent over the last several years in his message. In the process of demonstrating progress in extending Salesforce.com's ecosystem and introducing AppExchange OEM, Benioff showed several on demand AppExchange applications, running within Salesforce.com's platform, ranging from word processors and spreadsheets to complex procurement systems and data integration services.
Benioff was trying his best to provide evidence of his prophecy--that no application category will be untouched by the on demand model. The evidence is piling up in his favor. He then veered into an anti-Microsoft rant, saying how he can't wait to get rid of his Microsoft Exchange servers and applications. Google's Writely sharable word processor beats Microsoft Word, Benioff said, pushing credulity. He is not unbiased on this topic-- Salesforce.com-Writely mashup, the Writely document store is replaced by Salesforce.com's. He also declared that Salesforce.com doesn't want to write word processors, speadsheets or VoIP applications, but wants others to help extend on demand into other applications categories.
For many users, the Web Office suite is alive and well--check out Richard McManus' post on the topic--but for others Microsoft Office still has legs, even if they are somewhat tired and transitioning to a Live platform at the same time.
Benioff's vision is that Salesforce.com will be the databank (currently 10 terabytes) and workflow engine for millions of customers, pushing the data out to every kind of device and integrating and mashing up with any kind of application. You can't argue with the vision or progress so far. The question over time is how many generations his ecosystem will survive...