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'I run my business from my phone' says Benioff as Salesforce shovels $93m into the furnace

But irritating adolescent bags more and more sales

Salesforce.com protest at Oracle OpenWorld

Salesforce is in the fortunate business where it can simply raise its cloud-coated hand in the air and a fraction of the trillions of dollar bills being blown around the global economy will stick to it.

At least, that was the message on the enterprise software-as-a-service company's first quarter earnings call for its fiscal 2015 results, with chief executive Marc Benioff running through its "strong financial results" in a nasal drawl.

The company reported total revenues of $1.23bn for its first financial quarter of 2015, up 37 per cent year-over-year, and earnings per share of $0.11, both beating analyst expectations of $1.21bn and $0.10. Of those revenues, $1.15bn came from Salesforce's traditional businesses, with the rest coming from things like platform-as-a-service provider Heroku.

This compares with revenues of $1.072bn in the previous quarter, split between $1bn for core businesses and $72m for fringe ones.

As usual, the company failed to make a profit, and reported a net loss of $92.91m for the quarter, compared with $67.72m a year ago. Part of this was due to a huge jump in marketing and sales expenses to $639.3m from $466.4m in the same quarter a year ago.

Some of these expenses were due to the launch of Salesforce1, a new initiative by the company to tie all of its products together so customers of its money-printing customer relationship management (CRM) tech can simply pull in other features or technologies from products like Heroku or Data.com.

Another reason for the lack of profit is that Salesforce, like Amazon, has supremely patient investors who tolerate multiple quarters of scant profits yet still buy its shares (Salesforce shares traded up 0.83 per cent after it reported earnings).

"Today I run my business from my phone, I could never have imagined that a few years ago," explained Benioff on the call. "At Salesforce we've rebuilt all of our services under the Salesforce1 platform."

In light of the encouraging results, Salesforce raised its projected revenue for the second quarter of 2015 to between $1.285bn and $1.290bn.

Salesforce turned 15 this year and, like any adolescent, infuriates some of the adults it deals with. One party irritated by the company is the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which is currently in a dispute with Salesforce over how it reports its revenues. Salesforce says it plans to get this fixed by the end of 2015. Perhaps it might report a profit then as well? ®

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