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Benioff Announces Database.com, Issues Oracle Rejoinder

Salesforce.com's CEO dismissed the "old status quo players" who spread fear and doubt about the cloud at the Dreamforce user group event in San Francisco.

An exuberant Marc Benioff launched Salesforce.com’s database as a service, Database.com, promised more features for the Force.com cloud platform, and elicited on the spot support from singer Will.I.Am, seated in the front row of his keynote address to his firm’s user group meeting in San Francisco on Tuesday.

The shaded songwriter and front man for the BlackEyedPeas took the microphone from Benioff to say he looked forward to “people hearing my songs as they are being made” by fans who follow his work in the cloud.

The eighth Salesforce.com annual user group meeting got underway Tuesday at the Moscone Conference Center and CEO Benioff wasted little time before delivering his response to a pasting that Salesforce took at an earlier user group meeting in the same setting. In September, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison told Oracle OpenWorld attendees that they should look to Oracle and its Exalogic Elastic Cloud hardware appliance for its cloud computing needs, not Salesforce.

“We know those old status quo players who want to hold on, to milk those cash cows. So they’re spreading fear and doubt about the cloud. . . The cloud is not a box. It was amazing to me that that sort of positioning was still happening."

“At Oracle OpenWorld, I walked the floor of the exhibit hall and it was one red cube after another. In one was BEA, in another Siebel Systems. The whole industry was a row of red cubes, companies that Oracle has bought,” Benioff continued. But cloud computing has little to do with acquiring other companies or building larger boxes. IBM acquired Lotus Notes, which “was conceived before (Facebook founder) Mark Zuckerberg,” Benioff noted wryly.

The new way to cut computing costs, collaborate and communicate is through the cloud, Benioff said. “Databases need to move into the cloud, just like everything else. . . Ladies and gentleman, beware of the false cloud. It’s not efficient, it’s not democratic, it’s not environmental.”

Benioff said follow up speakers on Wednesday will tell exactly how Saleforce will be enhancing its cloud platform, Force.com; a second, two-hour keynote is scheduled that day to tackle the subject. He did disclose that Salesforce, through its partnership with VMware, was running Java applications on its Force.com platform. VMware’s Spring Framework has been reconfigured on Force.com to allow Java development in the cloud, with the resulting application able to run on Force.com.

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