It’s no secret that the White House called in a bunch of
Internet gurus from big U.S. tech companiesto help them fix the floundering HealthCare.gov website.
But they could have gotten a lot more help than that.
Salesforce.com founder and CEO Marc Benioff, known for his close ties to the Obama Administration, actually offered to fix the website at no charge, and run it for free for five years, Benioff told the Washington Post.
But the White House couldn’t accept.
Benioff made the offer because he considered President Obama to be a friend. He was among 35 people to be “co-chairs” of President Obama’s re-election campaign and continues to help with fund raisers. He just hosted the President at his San Francisco home last week.
Benioff told Post reporters Juliet Eilperin and Amy Goldstein:
“A friend in need is a friend indeed. Silicon Valley is a friend of President Obama’s, and we’re going to help the government get through this,” Benioff said. … Benioff said he had “offered to rebuild the entire HealthCare.gov site for free and run it for five years at no charge” in direct talks with the White House, but the administration declined the offer.
A White House official said the administration could not have accepted the offer, because it ran afoul of federal contracting rules.
So instead, he assigned two employees to help fix the website, doing what he described as “coaching and mentoring.” He didn’t charge the White House for their work, he said.
Employees from other big U.S. tech companies also helped out including IBM, Google, and Rackspace.
Benioff is considered one of the fathers of cloud computing. The site he founded, Salesforce.com, is a website that helps large companies interact with their customers and is one of the biggest “software-as-a-service” cloud computing companies around.
We reached out to Salesforce.com and asked if the company had further comment.