Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff took his cloud computing message to Oracle's customers at OpenWorld yesterday, arguing that there was no reason why there could not be a "best of both worlds" approach.
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Talking at a small theatre - 700 seat capacity - next to the main OpenWorld conference venue, Benioff started by professing his admiration for Oracle.
"Thank you Oracle for allowing us to be here and have a booth at the show," he said. "We have always had a fantastic relationship with Oracle as key supplier and partner. Larry was our first investor and first board member and I worked at Oracle for 13 years. Thanks to everyone at Oracle for being so magnanimous and letting us be here today."
On a more pragmatic level, Benioff acknowledged that Oracle and Salesforce.com had to co-exist.
"A lot of our customers use Oracle products, the Oracle database, Oracle financials, as we do. But they can also find benefit in cloud computing. We understand that there are lots of companies who are using Oracle and Salesforce.com and we want to bring those worlds together."
Benioff told the audience of Oracle delegates that he had once stood on the same stage during his time at Oracle. For this, he apologised.
"I used to feel a bit guilty that I was really only talking to the largest customers," he said. "Cloud computing is democratic, a new type of business model. It is not just for the largest companies."