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."

Now, Oracle Corp., SAP AG and Microsoft Corp. are punching back, buying companies that offer business-management tools over the Internet, gaining traction in an area pioneered by Salesforce. That's stepping up pressure on Benioff to move beyond his core — programs that manage sales — and accelerate a push into software-development and social-media marketing, part of a bigger market valued by UBS AG at more than $100 billion.

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