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Newsmaker: Benioff takes stock of software shifts
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 17 March 2008 11:50

 By Dan Farber and Charles Cooper
Staff writer, CNET
Published: March 17, 2008, 4:00 AM PDT

For years, Marc Benioff appeared in public wearing an "End of Software" button on his lapel--just to rankle Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, or any other software mugwump making a killing on selling packaged applications.

Nowadays, the peripatetic entrepreneur might just as well swap the old buttons out with a replacement bearing a new slogan: "Told you so."

His company,, which posted record fourth-quarter revenue, raised its outlook for its next fiscal year to between $1.03 billion and $1.035 billion. The company, which has become closely identified with the move toward software as a service, has registered 85 percent annualized sales growth over the last five years.

But now has company. Among other new rivals, the company will butt heads increasingly with Microsoft, which has committed itself to offering more software services via the Internet.

CNET caught up with Benioff to talk about the future of software services as well as his plans to re-create as more of a computing platform.

Q: In 2005 you said that Microsoft was a dinosaur facing the obsolescence of a technology and a business model. Fast-forward to 2008 and Microsoft just had a big event in Las Vegas, where Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie got up onstage and articulated a vision that had a lot of similarities to what you're talking about vis a vis platform as a service, such as its SQL Server data services. So, has your opinion changed?   [CNET]   [Comments...]

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