Marc Benioff warns against ‘false clouds’

by CXOtoday Staff    Sep 08, 2010

Mark BenioffEven though the whole world is talking about cloud computing, very few understand it properly, feels March Benioff, CEO & chairman of Salesforce.com. During his keynote address today at the ongoing Cloudforce’10 being held in London, Benioff came down heavily on companies that are jumping on the cloud computing bandwagon by marketing, what he calls, the ‘false cloud’.

“The cloud computing test is – Are you buying hardware or software? Our idea is that in cloud computing you do not buy hardware, you do not have data centers, software, etc. A lot of our competitors are using the term cloud computing just because we are doing so, but what they do is not true cloud computing,” he said.

Benioff further spoke about the next-generation of the Internet, with focuses more on collaboration and sharing. He called it the ‘Facebook imperative’, where data is pushed to the user, instead of the user having to hunt for information. In fact, Salesforce’s latest collaboration application – Chatter, is heavily inspired from Facebook, to the extent of sporting a Facebook-style look.

“Why isn’t all enterprise software like Facebook? In our industry, people always overestimate what we can do in the next one year, and always underestimate what you can do in the next 10 years,” said Benioff. “Today, we are seeing a shift in how we access the Internet, what we do on it, etc. We are moving to a new desktop-less world where tablets and mobiles are going to be devices of choice. Last year, social networking users overtook email users. This is the new paradigm of collaborating, communicating, & sharing.”

Benioff also said that he sees social applications like Seesmic as strategic partners for Salesforce.com. Welcoming Loïc Le Meur, the founder of Seesmic, on stage, he announced that Salesforce Chatter would also be featured on Seesmic, which acts as an aggregator of social networking feeds and currently has around 40 networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter, in its roster.

Meanwhile, Salesforce.com is planning to open a new data center in Japan this year, with one more scheduled in London by 2012. The company also announced a mobile version of its collaborative tool – Salesforce Chatter, which will be available for the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android-based phones.