Friday, November 11, 2005


I read CNet's article on the Gates email yesterday, but my friend, Jeff, sent me a link to the original text here.

Now Marc Benioff sounds off with a bang. It's funny timing because Tony and I were meeting with a few hours before his email to his company. Anyway, here it is:

From: Marc Benioff
Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2005 8:58 PM
To: All
Subject: The Business Web

Today, I woke up to read on the front page of the Wall Street Journal how Microsoft is reorganizing to take on companies like Google and a new generation of products called Microsoft Live.

And just last week, Bill Gates gave a speech about the end of software that could have been a page out of our play book. His rhetoric sounding as it was he who was picketing software companies and calling for "The End of Software"--our mantra since 1999.

The speech was an amazing bracket to his famous Tidal Wave speech on December 7, 1995 about how Microsoft would own the Internet. But over this 10 year span, what has Microsoft done for business on the Web besides cloning a slow browser? The answer: nothing.

For example, Microsoft says one day that customers in our industry should upgrade from Microsoft CRM 1.2 to Microsoft CRM 3.0 (they lost 2.0 on the way), and, unfortunately, the two versions are not compatible with each other--customizations will not upgrade, they have different user interfaces, and they require lots of different Microsoft software. It's an old Microsoft game that ends in failure for customers, but generates their mafiaesque upgrade revenues.

The next day, Microsoft has a new version called "Live." It's the new on demand offering that will not be compatible with the current product line. So, perhaps they should rename their entire Microsoft software product line, Microsoft Dead. It's the analog to Microsoft Live, the new on demand offering that does even exist.

What is going on? This is a time of seismic shifts in our industry. The internet is disintermediating the status quo, and old models of software cost and complexity are being replaced with new models of affordability and ease of use. (full article)

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