Salesforce Sees More Competition

Oracle, SAP and Microsoft move into the area of web-based business management tools.

Even before Salesforce.com Inc. went public in 2004, Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff wasted few opportunities to poke fun at bigger, more established software companies, calling their products “landfill.”

In his management book “Behind the Cloud,” Benioff advised upstarts to “box above your weight.”

Tough Rivals

“The moves that Oracle, SAP and Microsoft have made validate what Salesforce.com has been saying for over a decade,” Benioff, 47, said in an interview from his vacation home in Hawaii. “When you’re one person with a flag like we were for many years, it’s much harder.”

Dream Deals

SAP, the world’s largest maker of business management applications, reported better-than-estimated earnings thanks to its SuccessFactors online HR software. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, a perennial Benioff target, last month bought Yammer Inc., a Facebook-like corporate networking tool that competes with Salesforce’s Chatter.

Social Element

Salesforce and Oracle are also dueling to take advantage of growing corporate demand for marketers to create campaigns and garner product feedback from Facebook and Twitter users’ streams of posts.

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