Benioff lays into Microsoft

"Microsoft is being out hustled by everyone"...
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

"Microsoft is being out hustled by everyone"...

Marc Benioff, the outspoken CEO of Salesforce.com, has laid into Microsoft after the company unveiled its Dynamics CRM Live service.

Benioff claims Microsoft's hand has been forced by the success of on-demand companies but its failure to react sooner means it could be too little, too late for a company cast by Benioff as one that is increasingly adrift of where it should be.

In an internal email, in which he said the advances of many on-demand applications - from spreadsheet and word processing applications to email exchange services - are squeezing Microsoft on all sides, Benioff wrote: "Steve Ballmer has publicly fretted that he would not be 'out hustled by anyone' but the fact is that Microsoft is being out hustled by everyone."

Benioff described Microsoft's Dynamics launch as the worst kept secret in the industry and said the Redmond behemoth is clearly trying desperately to position itself in the services market, evidenced by the changes at the highest level. "Just three weeks ago, Bill Gates announced he would leave his day-to-day responsibilities at Microsoft and turn his title of chief software architect over to Ray Ozzie.

"Why did he choose Ozzie, a relative newcomer to Microsoft?" wrote Benioff, before answering his own question. "Ozzie had made his views widely known in his 28 October, 2005 memo called 'Services Disruption', where he stated the future would be dominated not by software like that made by Microsoft but by services offered by companies like Google and Salesforce.com who were changing the software game forever by delivering a new paradigm."

Benioff, whose own success depends on his proclamations about software proving to be correct, added: "Many other companies are finally delivering a wide variety of software as service offerings from Business Objects to Adobe to Skype. And, Oracle and SAP both have announced they would take the software as service market seriously as well with their own on-demand offerings. And, finally, Microsoft has announced that it will begin hosting its own business software under the Live brand."

He added: "Customers of all sizes are making the decision to choose software as service. No one can turn back time and the Pandora's Box of services is now opened.

"Now, everyone agrees that the future of software is no software at all."

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