The other day, I caught a story how Salesforce.com - the pioneers of No Software and Cloud Computing - are building an app for the iPad and Android devices both expected in 2011.
That's right: the leader of the cult of no software is developing - gasp - a software application.
Clearly I am missing something. Yes I understand how important mobile computing is and the rest of it, however, I am at a loss to understand why Salesforce.com would step out of the cloud and onto terra firma in the world of deployed software. I am wracking my brain to understand why they would do this. Their applications and platform work just as well on Safari and Chrome as they do on IE and Firefox so why divert valuable development resources into building a closed box application on the iPad.
Then it struck me - might some merger or the like happen between Apple and Salesforce.com some time in the very near future?
It makes perfect sense (to me anyway). Salesforce.com are completely complementary to Apple in so many ways and together they are devastating. I'll explain:
1) Great devices
2) Great application platform for mobile computing for consumer apps
3) Great ecosystem of firms building consumer apps
4) Great customer loyalty and numbers
5) Market cap of over $240 billion
6) Strong central leadership and a CEO who is a visionary and thought leader
1) Trust of enterprises/large corporations around security or application development
2) Any real revenue from corporate businesses
3) A clear successor for Steve Jobs (sorry - they don't)
1) Great application platform trusted by large corporations
2) Great customer loyalty and growth
3) Market cap of just under $12 billion
4) Strong central leadership and a CEO who is a visionary and thought leader
1) Any consumer-based revenue
2) No device business
3) A tough road to go from $1 billion in revenue to $5 billion as planned
So what if you put these two firms together, what do you have:
1) A firm that can deliver end to end applications - browser or device-based
2) A huge ecosystem of partners building apps for either businesses or consumers
3) A firm ready to merge consumer and corporate apps into one channel
4) Technology trusted by businesses and consumers
5) A firm to really compete with Microsoft and Google and win - big
6) A successor for Steve who is 10 years younger than he is
I might be enjoying the glorious Friday weather too much but this makes way more sense than those Google-Salesforce.com or Oracle-Salesforce.com rumours/stories we've all heard. Imagine - the power of the device leader with the cloud computing leader. Wow.
It would be an absolute game changer for the industry and complete the shift to cloud/mobile computing. Businesses would be able to buy in more heavily into the mobile cloud story with the combined entity. Parker Harris and his team would address any security concerns with the OS and take the Apple productivity tools into their cloud with relative ease (that's my guess). The ecosystem could tap into two channels - consumer and business - and start to develop huge revenues through each.
RIM would be done and really have no choice but to sell to Microsoft to give them a viable device business. Microsoft would need to double-down on Azure and hope their .NET developer community can win out over the Apple OS and Java developer community that the Apple-Salesforce.com entity would carry.
If there is something to this hypothesis, it would be a good year or so away (didn't Salesforce.com say they would have an iPad app by mid-2011) and does assume Mr. Jobs is ready to pull back a from running Apple much like Bill Gates has done with Microsoft. I think Mr. Jobs concern is he has a Steve Ballmer type ready not a Steve Jobs type. No offense to Mr. Ballmer but he isnt in the 'visioning thing'.
Marc Benioff is - big time. There are parallels between Mr. Jobs and Mr. Benioff in that Mr. Benioff worked for a time at Apple, has been the slayer of giants and mover of mountains in leading the cloud computing charge. Mr. Jobs we know has done similar in the mobile space. And both have a passion for getting Microsoft.