San Francisco’s Real Multi-Billion-Dollar War

If you read other tech blogs this morning you might get an idea that the next multi-billion-dollar war is over Google vs. Amazon.

Now that’s an interesting battle, but I believe it’s small potatoes compared to the real war that Marc Benioff started more than a decade ago: over how we all work.

See, Salesforce was the first to see weakness in Microsoft’s “install software everywhere” model and exploited that weakness to build a great San Francisco company.

But what did Salesforce do? It showed a raft of companies how to compete with Microsoft. Now it’s a full-blown movement that insiders are paying big attention to. Box.net has five million customers and is doubling every 14 months. Yammer won Techcrunch 50 and has hundreds of workers who are toiling to take enterprises away from Microsoft Sharepoint. Jive, SocialCast, SocialText, et al are on fire, too.

Come deeper into Silicon Valley and you’ll find one company that’s hiring all sorts of ex-Microsofties (I met one of Microsoft’s smartest strategists working there) among others and who today announced a new cloud app store for businesses: VMware. Don’t miss this company and what it’s doing.

GigaOm is right. VMware is the new Silicon Valley company to watch.

But don’t look at these companies one-by-one. It’s clear there’s a new movement and it’s radically changing how we work. Add in Google’s Docs and Spreadsheets, Sococo’s new virtual office, Twilio’s new phone APIs, amongst many other examples and you see this is the real San Francisco multi-billion-dollar war that hasn’t gotten good coverage in the tech press.

Why isn’t the tech press covering this San Francisco tech story?

Oh, sure, it’s Enterprise. Mike Arrington told me once he gets bored with enterprise companies. It’s not as sexy as anything Apple or Google are doing. Partly because VMware’s PR team isn’t interested in waking up the bears (Microsoft and other enterprise-focused companies) by shooting off Jason Calacanis style missives or playing PR games the way Facebook got caught doing last week. Nah, they are understated. They underpromise and don’t try to hype things up too much. That doesn’t fit how the current tech press can get onto the cover of Techmeme or Hacker News.

But don’t miss this battle. It’s way bigger than the battle over tablets or consumer app stores and will shift billions in revenue from Redmond to San Francisco.

Here I visit VMware to find out why they are buying startups like Sliderocket and Mozy, plus I get a look at their new single-sign-on cloud service management tool, Horizon, in a talk with Noah Wasmer, director of product management, advanced development. That announcement is covered more over on Building43.

 

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