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Salesforce boss: One day I'll run a $10bn... er, software biz?

Benioff boasts: SAP and Oracle can kiss my chuddies

Marc Benioff of Salesforce. Pic: Techcrunch

Marc Benioff has accused the world’s largest business software maker and the industry’s biggest database firm of not cutting the mustard on Salesforce's cloudy home turf.

Yet his sales fluffer is doing rather well as a – wait for it – software company. Benioff says it will hit $6bn in revenue in 12 months' time.

From there, his “crystal-clear” dream is to become the first and fastest software company to hit $10bn annual revenue, as he said while uncorking his latest results for Wall Street.

Bullish Benioff announced $5.3bn in annual revenue for fiscal 2015, growing 31 per cent. The company’s net loss was also up, 13 per cent to $262m, with EPS also in negative territory on $0.42 – up from $0.39 a year ago.

For the quarter, Salesforce’s loss narrowed to $65.8m, down from $116.6m on revenue of $1.44bn – growing by 26 per cent year-on-year.

“Salesforce.com [is] now the sixth largest software company in the world, the number one cloud computing company in the world, very unique in the industry,” he said.

That’s right, go on – scrub that old Salesforce logo of “no software” from your brain. That never happened. Salesforce.com is a software company. Got it?

Sixth or not, there’s a heck of chasm for Salesforce to cross from where it is now to where the firm’s one-man PR department wants to go.

Salesforce has passed Fiserve to become number six software company in the world but remains behind VMware, which is on $6bn, and Symantec, on $6.6bn.

After those two firms, Salesforce meets the chasm: SAP is number three software firm on $19.93bn, Oracle second at $38bn and Microsoft is still number one, on $77bn in annual revenue.

Oracle and SAP are panting to catch up with Salesforce’s growth and match its annual subscriptions; they’ve now started using upside-down PR to get in front of Benioff’s, painting him as the legacy incumbent and them as the hot new thing.

One of Benioff’s engines for growth is Service Cloud – his company’s second biggest business, behind Sales Cloud – which earned $1.32bn in the last 12 months.

Trying to regain the initiative, Salesforce.com’s CEO belittled Oracle’s growing noise about being the fastest growing in the cloud and took SAP to task for forcing HANA on customers.

“Oracle keeps saying they’re growing more quickly than anyone else in the cloud. Well, that’s very easy to do when you’re starting at zero,” he told Wall Street.

He lambasted Oracle’s Service Cloud rival to his own: Oracle bought cloud-based customer service RightNow in 2011, which it renamed Oracle Service Cloud.

“Service cloud – that’s a great example,” Benioff said. “This is not a multi-billion dollar business for Oracle like it is for us. They have not been able to execute.”

Of SAP, Benioff said: “They will just come into customers and say 'use HANA.' And it’s like 'but for what and how?' And unload the software onto your company.”

The next version of SAP’s core business suite will only run on HANA, SAP’s in-memory database and not on relational databases from IBM, Microsoft or Oracle. ®

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