Salesforce CEO Slams Microsoft And Its Inability To Execute Despite Having Unbelievable Assets

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

In an interview to Venture Beat, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff spoke about the current state of Microsoft, Bill Gates and their ability to compete with Salesforce, etc,. He commented that Microsoft is not able to execute in the market despite having great assets. He even criticized Microsoft’s business strategy and vision.

What do you think about Microsoft’s ability to compete right now?

It’s been very limited. I think the Steve Ballmer decision was a very good decision by Steve and by the board, but probably five years too late.

I know that company really well, and I have a huge amount of respect for them. I’ve competed with them over the last 25 years. I think Bill Gates is amazing; he’s my role model. He saved ten million lives in the last decade. It’s amazing. And if you look at Bill Gates, he’s happy, he’s joyful, he’s relaxed, he’s having a good time — and while he was at Microsoft, he was miserable and kind of a curmudgeon.

But while Bill Gates has evolved, Microsoft has not. They need to push the reset button on vision. The whole concept of Windows everywhere was a really interesting mantra 20 years ago, but it doesn’t work today, and it’s led them down some very dark paths to products that are not any good. Number two, they need to push the reset button on people. So they’ve started with Ballmer, but they have an issue that they’re going to have to address: they’ve got two former CEOs on the board. I think it’s hard for the CEO coming in with two CEOs looking over their shoulder, so I think they’re going to have to address that. They have really unbelievable assets that every company in the world wishes they had — in brand, market position, technology, and monopoly — but they can’t execute it.

Microsoft Dynamic CRM Magic Quadrant

Any comment on how effective Microsoft Dynamics CRM is as a competitor?
Marc also considers Microsoft as a follower in the CRM business where Salesforce is the top dog. He highlighted the fact that Salesforce is the No.1 company in CRM business both in market share and revenue.

They’re a follower, not a leader. They continue just to follow. This is a great market, and we have a lot of competitors: Microsoft is one, Oracle is one, SAP is one, and I could probably list ten more — and that’s a good position to be in on our side, because we’re number one. We’re number one in every [Gartner] magic quadrant, number one in market share and revenue. They won’t even publish their revenue figures.

I think he underestimates Microsoft’s CRM business. According to Gartner’s magic quadrant, both Dynamics CRM and Dynamics CRM Online are now part of the leaders quadrant growing year over year.

Apart from CRM business, Microsoft now competes with Salesforce on Cloud platform market too. Windows Azure and Force platform are direct competitors.

What do you think?

Source: Venturebeat

About the author  ⁄ pradeep

Pradeep, a Computer Science & Engineering graduate.

  • DarCam7

    He is right about not being able to use their assets to their advantage. How slow and cumbersome, almost too deliberate, Microsoft moves is infuriating. They no longer move the market, but mostly try to adjust to catch up to it.
    He is also right that Steve Ballmer should have moved a long time ago. Now he leaves a company still restructuring, with a huge influx of newly acquired Nokia employees and a vacant CEO chair with no clear prospects.

  • Bugbog

    For a company where CRM isn’t even it’s main (or only) business, they seem to be doing rather well according to the ‘Magic’ Gartner they he quotes, don’t they?!

    • jimski27

      Exactly. A company can’t, and probably shouldn’t be first at everything. Their in the game and that’s where they need to be for now.

  • Lenn Liggins

    What he said is true, it’s seem like Microsoft moves like a aircraft carrier, needing hundreds of miles just to make a turn. They need to get focused on two or three goals for their products like Windows phones. They need to get them to all carriers, they need to get their apps going and keep their updates in a timely manner.

    • Bugbog

      Though you agree, what you’re really saying is “just focus on the area I’m interested in!”

    • Asgard

      If we take Windows Longhorn into account the situation changes quite much. And the way you view how MS has performed. Longhorn was to big change for them in a market where they had monopoly. It failed and they lost 2 years of development. This is exactly the amount of time they were late from mobile. So just one big project failed and here we are.
      Now they are catching up but its difficult because W8 too represents a big jump into something new. Their inability to produce good apps for their own platform has been shocking. For example how can it take over a year for a company of tens of thousands of programmers to create a decent mail app?
      I think WP 8.1 is the most important release this year and I really hope they dont continue lagging after its release. They really need to start focusing on consumer/enterprise _features_ instead of invisible background work they have been doing for years.

  • Avatar Roku

    This company seems incredibly scared of Microsoft. I constantly hear them talking crap about MS which means MS must be starting to eat their lunch.

  • p0kes

    This is one of MS’s issues. Their Enterprise endeavors are too closely tied to their Consumer endeavors.

    They need to be more fluid to compete and succeed in the consumer market but their focus on enterprise slows them down.

    Their efforts to recapture the consumer market is also affecting their ability to strongly win new enterprise markets.

    Catch 22.

    Too big too adapt quickly but also too big to not bother trying.

    • scotthumble

      Exactly how would you propose that you develop something like Windows 8.1 without developing for the enterprise? If anything, those development cycles have become more intertwined out of necessity. That is a singular strength for Microsoft that no other competitor can match. By leveraging their economy of scale across an enormous catalog of IP and solutions, they are able to offer products and services that scale from consumer use to the enterprise. I’d like to see more integration not less. I would love to see Lync support for Kinect that uses the same tracking and focusing algorithm that they designed for Xbox One with Skype. If anything, the One Microsoft vision is a good thing because it closes the gap on these product lines so that they can better leverage cross departmental IP.

  • robertwade

    I’m not involved in sales, so I’ve never heard of Salesforce. What is it exactly that they are the leader of? CRM software/services? And, if that quad-chart is accurate, it would seem that Microsoft is pretty solidly number 2. Not a horrible place to be…ask Apple. Samsung and Android may be eating Apple’s lunch, Apple isn’t exactly crying on the sidelines. I’m curious what kind of dollar figure we’re talking about overall in this market that Salesforce is the leader of.

    • jvs

      FYI:
      Salesforce:
      Revenue (2013): $3.05 billions.
      Net Income (2013): -$0.270 billions.

      Microsoft:
      Revenue (2013): $77.85 billions.
      Net Income (2013): $21.86 billions.
      Microsoft, just buy it.

      • robertwade

        LOL. To be fair, though, was that $77.85 bil all in the same market that Salesforce competes with them in, or was that for all of Microsoft’s product lines?

        • jvs

          All MSFT.

        • Kruegerman

          A company as mature as Salesforce is currently shouldn’t be having negative earnings. Ever.

  • jvs

    Call me back when Salesforce have the most use OS..

  • NGM123

    MS is a bit like an aircraft carrier but with a soggy biscuit for a rudder. Huge, powerful, bristling with technology but changing direction or manoeuvring is near impossible and as a consequence they have become reactionary and not pro active in . Such a great shame.

    • scotthumble

      This is why aircraft carriers have aircraft on them. If anything, I’d say that Microsoft has been acting more like a thousand individual tugboats meandering aimlessly through the high seas. Hopefully, the reorganization changes this and allows for more economy of scale. If Blue was any indication, I’d say that the future is really bright

  • DigTheNoise

    We left Salesforce this past July for the Dynamics CRM web app, then rolled out Office 365 in December. This guy should probably do a small installation of the same and see why we did.

    • Kruegerman

      I signed up for a Salesforce developer account last year to participate in their $1 million hackathon (which was a complete joke), and their software is a clusterfuck. The UI is utterly confusing. I can’t believe anybody pays for that garbage.

      • Nham Thien Duong

        I’ve heard similar bad stories from my colleagues, the C.E.O. just likes to put a popular opinion (that Microsoft never leads anything) to sell his own product, this is what almost all tech-companies do.

  • rjmlive

    I don’t think most people appreciate exactly how big Microsoft is. They are moving and evolving every single platform at the same time, while being backwards compatible, while being responsive to the market, literally inventing the technologies and things we use every day.

    All this being mindful that “Free is good enough” is now the new standard, and finding themselves split between two opposite business approaches in the Apple (closed garden, narrow focus, vertical market) to Google (leverage user data for advertising, close the loop in as many ways as possible at any cost). Microsoft is currently a balance of the two.. making products and selling them based on their own value (like Apple) and on the opposite side, having products and services to leverage a single sellable product, the user (like Google).

    Microsoft is too slow for me, and too slow for the current pace of the market. That said.. have you ever used Windows 8.1 on a tablet.. absolutely amazing….

    • Captain Panaka

      Well said.

    • Guest

      That said,…have you used Windows 8 on a PC…absolutely agonizing…

      • blakjedi

        Ridiculous. Unless you forgot how a PC usually operates, windows 8 and 8.1 operate just fine. enough with ridiculous hyperbole.

        • Guest

          Ya that’s right sheer hyperbole…and that is why we experienced the worse drop in sales history for PCs last quarter…

          • rjmlive

            People don’t need better computers to run “apps” is why PC’s are down a tad to only selling 88+M devices in a quarter. Windows 8.1 is amazing. It handles my tripple monitor setup incomparably better than 7 did. I run my desktop in desktop mode 90% of the time and other than increased speed, optimization, and all around better experience, it’s hardly any different than 7 anyway.

          • LexicoRed

            Kind of snarky, but point made :(

          • Sugadevan

            I freaking love 8.1 on my full hd 22” desktop!! GTH you stone age people.. if you don’t like 8 then stay with 7 or even go to mac/Linux! don’t bark here.

          • Lance Stern

            Do you really think it was only because of Windows 8? Or that tablets and mobile phones have come to be the future of personal computers?

      • Rann Xeroxx

        I agree that W8 has not been the best OS for the desktop/laptop. I think if MS can integrate some of Jay M suggestions, the average user would actually be excited about Windows 9(?)…

        http://jay-machalani.squarespace.com/blog/2013/12/12/fixing-windows-8

        I would add turning tiles into “widgets” by allowing them to be any size and interactive. You want a full email tile to show you your last 10 emails? Go for it.

      • Lance Stern

        I have and it’s amazing.

    • Rikkirik

      People tend to forget that Microsoft is mostly a business and enterprise oriented company and not a consumer oriented company like Apple and Google. PC became mainstream over decades because they became more affordable. Except for Xbox Microsoft has not had many comsumer products. So on the consumer side Microsoft can be considered as a young company.Microsoft does not have to chose the Apple or Google way, but can focus on it’s strength: software and it’s ecosystem. On the business side we already have W8, Cloud services, business application (big data services) etc. On the consumer side I am thinking of software integrated in carsystems, smartphones, smart TV, camera’s, wearables, settopboxes (in conjunction with the cable companies etc), On the business side you can also think of luggage systems at airports etc. Kinect can be applied in so many functionalities. Microsoft should get more active if it wants to dominate the consumer sector. Hardware is not key since it is subject to price erosion.

      • Rikkirik

        Free is also not the best way (yes you can dominate the market with it, but) , because it leads to a lack of incentives to innovate, to develop own products and to truly invest by comapnies, which leads to a lot of crappy products out there (look at all those Android smartphones, most are crap). Most Android partners are losing money on Android smartphones and there actually is less differentiation in products. Choice is but a fantasy, because the core services are the same. Free also destroys the livelyhood of a lot of working people, because companies cannot make a decent buck on crap.

  • SategB

    Seems Benioff has been reading Microsoft-News and choose to reiterate much of my posts over the last 6 months… I guess when your right your right.

    Great minds think alike ;)

  • Liquid55

    Salesforce sucks.

  • http://www.simonpauldesign.com/ Simon Paul

    Wow, this guy is full of himself. We use salesforce at work. And while we have a specialized developer to customize it. The overall experience is clunky and ugly as hell. Its seriously one of the most dated, hideous web apps I’ve seen.

  • scotthumble

    Benioff is under the spell of the Silicon Valley. Salesforce definitely commands alot of buzz but judging Microsoft through the lens of CRM is laughable. It’s easy to fire darts at Redmond when you are a Bay Area sweetheart. But the reality is quite different. As a vendor focused almost exclusively on CRM with alot of partner and developer support, I would hope that they are number one in the market. Oracle should be number two. Microsoft Dynamics is certainly a well supported product but it isn’t a key part of their revenue. They could do alot more with it than they have. That is what Benioff should be concerned about. His criticism of Dynamics is probably fair but if anything, this speaks volumes for what Dynamics has accomplished without turning up the wick. If you stumble onto a grizzly bear in the woods and he doesn’t kill you, does that mean that the bear is weak?

  • Kruegerman

    LOL. This guy is talking out of his ass. Salesforce had to run some gimmicky $1 million hackathon, which was essentially fixed, in order to attract devs to the shitty Heroku platform.

  • VHMP01

    The thing this guy fotgot is that MS Dinamics is an ERP also, not just a CRM. In the ERP quadrants it competes against SAP. If neither are the main businesses of MS, and on both is second best, he should be worried!

  • KCMatt

    Now I see why there is no Salesforce app on Windows Phone or Windows 8! Have always viewed it as a big failure on the part of MS if they truly want to be business devices. Though, maybe there is still blame on MS for not getting it done despite competing in the CRM market.
    That being said, I agree with others that Salesforce is extremely clunky and a huge pain to use. Which is why I would love an app making it more polished.