Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff: Clouds aren't in a box

Benioff hits back at Oracle boss' jibes

Benioff hits back at Oracle boss' jibes

There are plenty of different definitions of what 'the cloud' is, but Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff is sure of one thing – clouds don't come in boxes.

Benioff used his appearance at the Oracle OpenWord conference to hit back at Larry Ellison after the Oracle CEO criticised his software-as-a-service rival Salesforce.com.

Ellison had questioned the security of Salesforce.com's cloud computing model, while unveiling a new piece of million-dollar Oracle hardware called Exalogic - which includes all the servers, storage and networking needed to run enterprise applications - which he termed a "cloud in a box".

Larry Ellison on stage at Oracle World

Larry Ellison on stage at OracleWorld
(Photo credit: Oracle via Flickr.com under the following licence. Photo courtesy of Hartmann Studios)

But Benioff joked: "Clouds are not in a box and they never will be in a box – that's the whole idea," adding the warning: "Beware of the false cloud."

Benioff said that while some companies would still want to buy their own infrastructure, "the world is moving to cloud", and claimed that cloud is lower-cost and greener - quoting figures showing 1.35 grammes of CO2 is generated per transaction using traditional computing, compared to 0.03 for Salesforce.com.

The next application to move into the cloud, he said, is collaboration, and unveiled an update to Salesforce.com's Chatter software – a kind of business-focused hybrid of Facebook and Twitter.

He demonstrated it running on the iPhone, iPad and the new Dell Inspiron Duo, a netbook-tablet hybrid.

According to Salesforce.com, 20,000 customers have rolled out Chatter in three months – around a quarter of its customer base - and customers are reporting a 13 per cent reduction in email as a result of using the application.

Among the new features included in this week's update to Chatter are filters to allow workers to focus only on relevant posts, filtering by groups and people, and a Chatter Desktop app which allows users to post updates, comments, files and links without opening a web browser.

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