Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff showed his excellent grasp of business reality on Friday when he said Windows 8 will be the end of the dominance of Windows in business, also going on to say LTE will replace WIFI and WLAN, and with that installed software.
Windows has become “irrelevant,” he said, being displaced by next-generation LTE wireless networks that will “disintermediate” the need for WANs and LANs, along with “all of these great services that are available right off the cloud.”
“Now, we’re not completely there,” Benioff added. “Everything is not heterogeneous client, everything is not LTE, everything is not cloud … But we’re going to this great new place in our industry.”
He said Windows 8 will not be an automatic and inevitable upgrade for CIOs; like Windows 7 was.
He said Windows 8 will force CIOs to ask “am I going to Windows 8, or am I going to something else,” Benioff.
He quotes one particular unnamed CIO who was ready to move to something else already.
“Her goal is to get rid of all of the PCs,” Benioff said. “She doesn’t see a demand curve from users for PCs.” Instead, the CIO is hoping to move to a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) approach, Benioff said. Next-generation mobile devices have “forced CIOs to make changes already,” he added.
Benioff’s dream of cloud-based software, which would make customers critically dependent on maintaining their contract with Salesforce to run their business on a day to day basis, is of course an old one, and on one level his dream of the always connected client is also shared by many.
He however ignores the reality of increasingly congested airways, increasing instead of decreasing costs of wireless connectivity, data-caps from wireless carriers, increasingly unreliable networks and the fact that retraining users on the new Windows 8 start menu is much simpler than replacing software with a web-based cloud version that wont work at a client’s offices because AT&T does not work very well in the basement conference room.
With 33% of businesses already saying they are upgrading to Windows 8, and only 10% skipping it, I think Benioff is showing signs of being dangerously out of touch with reality.