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.
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?