After hearing that Oracle was acquiring Customer Relationship Management (CRM) titan Siebel Systems this morning, I shot off an email to Marc Benioff, CEO at CRM on-demand darling salesforce.com to see what he had to say. Originally, I was going to incorporate his comments into my blog entry on the acquisition. But they were too precious not to create a separate entry for. Said Benioff:
Even dinosaurs mate a few times before they die. It's the end of software. It's the end of Siebel.
Personally, I agree with Siebel group vice president and general manager Rob Reid who told me that, given the way Siebel is adding about 250,000 "seats" to its user base each quarter, the company which is known for its on-premises offering but also has an on-demand offering (by virtue of its acquisition of UpShot) that competes with salesforce.com, has plenty of time to get whatever ducks it must get in a row to slow salesforce.com down. Just to put that number into perspective, while Siebel is adding 250K seats per quarter, salesforce.com's total number of seats right now stands at
267,000 308,000 [Editor's Note: salesforce apparently added 41,000 subscribers in the last quarter].
Finally, given that customer acquisition played such an important role in the Siebel buy, my expectation is that the CRM sweep-up isn't over yet. Not only will the other CRM on-demand darling RightNow Technologies probably get swept up in the next year, but with a market cap of only $2.6 billion (the same amount of money that eBay just bought Skype for), there are plenty of companies that could acquire salesforce.com for what they consider to be pocket change.
Here's the full text of Marc Benioff's internal memo to salesforce staff on the Oracle/Siebel deal.More Commentary: