Mighty Microsoft shared real estate outside the Dreamforce conference with tiny SugarCRM. But while Sugar had a amusing team of Christmas carollers, Microsoft had an intimidating team of Segways that the thousands of attendees went out of their way to avoid. Ironically, the Segways blared “I didn’t get Forced” while forcing their way through the crowds. At least, Oracle for a change was subtle with just a boring old billboard. See photos of all three here
But it was the messages inside the conference that made me worry about Microsoft. Marc Benioff mocked Oracle’s “false cloud”in his keynote. He was not directly harsh on Microsoft – he did not need to be. As salesforce showcased the impressive customer embrace of Chatter over the last year, there was plenty of talk about the “death of email” and Outlook . The Gillmor Gang has a nice discussion on the subject here. There were plenty of Apple, Android, RIM mobile devices on display throughout the conference but nothing with Microsoft 7. As people discussed the recently announced database.com, there were comparisons to SQL Azure.
salesforce has moved the conversation to Cloud 2 – the social, mobile cloud. The Segways should have had the Microsoft response to that. Instead, they were pitching what Marc Benioff calls Cloud 1 – first generation CRM (with potentially better economics). Microsoft should have done that at Dreamforce 3 years ago. Now they are trying to catch up at the speed and popularity of Segways plowing through a crowd.
Denis Pombriant POV on the boomeranged MS and Oracle marketing at the conference