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Benioff resists Office 2.0 distraction

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Salesforce.com wants to be many things to all people. But a move into hosted office productivity apps won't be appearing on its agenda anytime soon.

Chief executive Marc Benioff said Salesforce.com will add complementary services to its core customer relationship management (CRM) service, while leaving the frothier elements of Web 2.0 and Office 2.0 to others.

"If we try to pick off other things too soon, it's not going to serve them [customers] or us. I don't want to go into spreadsheets, word processors or email," he said.

Speaking at his company's annual Dreamforce event this week, Benioff said: "We want to do CRM very well, sales, partner marketing, mobile, content and ideas... are important to us to own and dominate. There are lots of things out there, but we don't want to be all things. We want to be open and have other people build on this [the Salesforce.com platform and underlying database]."

According to Benioff , Salesforce has a challenge to deepen its presence within existing customers. In other words, clients could be buying a lot more seats from the company - maybe four times as much as they are buying today.

So the company has to bang the drum to let them know that it does other stuff besides CRM. "A lot of our customers still think we only have one application... most don't know we have a customer service and support application or marketing application," he said. "We think there's a tremendous opportunity to break out of SFA [sales force automation]."

Another problem, is the newness of on-demand applications. Most customers, despite what start-ups and venture capitalists in Silicon Valley would have you think, are new to the whole idea of on-demand.

"When we rolled it out for the first time [Visualforce, announced this week] customers did not get it," Benioff said. "We have manifested who we are and what we can do for customers... the reality is even though I get it I do not take it for granted that anyone else gets it."®

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