Salesforce reported another good quarter on Thursday. During the quarterly conference call with Wall Street analysts, CEO Marc Benioff was asked why he thinks Salesforce is growing its revenues and profit margins while bigger software companies are floundering.
That happens to be one of Benioff’s favourite topics. So naturally, his answers were wonderfully colourful. For starters, he compared IBM, Oracle and SAP to “big dinosaurs.”
I think we all know IBM still sells a lot of mainframes. That doesn’t mean that IBM is innovating … It just means they’re selling [their customers] old technology and upgrading it. And that’s what you see with companies like Oracle and SAP. These are old technology bases that are kind of meandering along like mainframes. … But they can hang in there with their revenue, and it’s meander along like big dinosaurs moving down the desert for a while.
He also threw a dart at his former boss, friend and mentor, Oracle executive chairman Larry Ellison (who was actually an early investor in Salesforce):
I think we’ve mostly seen Oracle actually fail in the cloud market, I mean, for a long time, Larry said that the cloud was ridiculous and then he started taking it more seriously, but I just haven’t seen any competitive cloud solutions from Oracle. And I think that’s the shame. And I do view Larry as one of the most capable leaders in our industry. He’s amazing. Of course, he’s one of my mentors. But in this area of the cloud, Oracle has not delivered.
He even tossed out a cautious put-down of his new-found friend Microsoft.
Microsoft and Salesforce are now partners making some of their products work better together and Benioff has become friendly with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, (who will speak at Salesforce’s upcoming Dreamforce conference). Benioff has also been a long-time friend of Microsoft chairman John Thompson.
But until recently, the two companies had been bitter rivals. They compete in Salesforce’s bread-and-butter market of software for salespeople known as “customer relationship management.”
So Benioff couldn’t resist this barb at Microsoft, too:
Look, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP they’re selling millions of dollars of CRM, that’s with an M. We are selling billions of dollars of CRM that’s with a B and that is the difference between us and the competition.
That comment comes after reports that Microsoft has lately started to win more CRM deals away from Salesforce.