The investment community sees signs of better times ahead based on the first hours of Salesforce.com's (ticker symbol: CRM) IPO. However, that conclusion is fairly unreliable given the volatility of the market. On the other hand, led by CEO Marc Benioff, salesforce.com has justifiably earned plaudits for pioneering the hosted, software-as-a-service application category.
Despite all the frenzy around the IPO, the subscription-based applications area is for real and will continue to have rapid growth, especially for small and mid-sized companies. Siebel entered the market through its acquistion of Upshot and companies like NetSuite and RightNow are following in the wake of salesforce.com. In fact, NetSuite just put out a press release talking up how salesforce.com customers are switching to NetSuite because of its order management capabilities. We'll see more IPOs in this space and new and established players, which will result in a good situation for IT buyers--more choice and competition...and less cost to deploy and operate enterprise-class software.