Global CIO: Oracle-Salesforce Shocker As Benioff To Speak At Oracle World - InformationWeek
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10/10/2009
12:51 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: Oracle-Salesforce Shocker As Benioff To Speak At Oracle World

They've spent the last year ripping each other's strategies, belittling each other's approaches, and gloating over competitive wins. So why in the heck are they now trying to make nice?

--Maybe it's all a matter of perspective: that all that earlier jousting was just talk, and that neither of those alpha-CEOs meant it? That's nonsense. They each meant every syllable and probably said only about 10% of what they really wanted to say. Next hypothesis.

--Maybe Larry Ellison has embraced not only his inner cloud but also, as noted above in the description of Benioff's presentation, "the Sales Cloud, the Service Cloud, and the Custom Cloud." Okay, possibly but not likely—after all, just a few weeks ago in his comments at the Churchill Club, Ellison again derided the whole "cloud" language as a bunch of silliness.

--Maybe customer demand for connections between the cloud and terrestrial systems has hit such a critical mass that both CEOs agreed that there is more to be gained by a bit of collaboration than through ongoing frontal assaults. This is the ticket, I believe. After Open World, it's likely we'll see Ellison and Benioff, particularly when speaking to financial analysts, take some shots at each other's companies and talk up their own superior wins in the market. But for the mega-event at Open World, they'll show that in certain circumstances they're willing to work together.

It will be fascinating as well to hear what Michael Dell has to say in his co-presentation with Benioff. Long a pioneer in advancing the use of Oracle products on low-cost and flexible servers, Dell has unique perspectives that could offer some insights into whether this is just a temporary lull in an ongoing spat, or whether Oracle and Salesforce really intend to try to put aside their carping at each other and instead collaborate for the greater benefit of their customers.

GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at bevans@techweb.com.

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