Microsoft Surface targeted by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff in rant

Kareem Anderson

Similar to the post-game interview from a player or coach on the losing team, Salesforce Marc Benioff recently took an opportunity to rant and toss a few patronizing barbs at his opposition, Microsoft.

Flashback to 2015, Microsoft and Salesforce were making headlines as one-time vicious rivals sought to make amends around the accession of comparatively level-headed new CEO Satya Nadella and the company’s new collaborative direction. Benioff expressed his sense of relief as Nadella took the helm at Microsoft as he believed former CEO Steve Ballmer had a “hard time” working with other CEO’s.

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Fast forward some 700 days, and Salesforce and Microsoft are seemingly back at square one of a fiercely competitive bout for CRM dominance.

During a recent investor meeting, Benioff unleashed his unfettered view of one-time partner Microsoft and its efforts in hardware and the cloud when asked about a possible future reconciliation between the two companies.

No, there’s always one person in the room who’s using a Surface laptop, so I get that. And it’s you. Who else is using a Surface laptop? Raise your hand. OK, we have three people. And how many are using Macs? Raise your hand. How many iPads? OK. How many PCs? And then we’ve got the three Surface.

You know, look. They’re 1 percent of the CRM market. You know the numbers. I like having competitors. But what I just get blown away with is how they just can’t keep, you know, that management team in place. They just keep leaving Microsoft. You know that. And I think they don’t have confidence in that ability to execute in that business. So that has weighed to our favor, and customers feel that.

You know because you go to these conferences just like I do. There is no conference like this that they do and that’s the — in my opinion, the mark. That is — why is it that they don’t have anything like this? That when they put on a conference like something — it’s always the resellers who come together, and then — where are these people? Now, that isn’t to say they don’t have, like, Build, where they get these really high-end developers using the IDE. You know what I mean? Is that the conference I’ve been to where I’m like, Oh, yeah, these are all the — and they’re all Windows — they have a Windows fever. And they have Windows API fever at the conference. But I haven’t seen that in any other part of their business, other than the Windows API. Maybe they’ll get it in Azure — I don’t know.

But I haven’t seen that yet. Because the last time that I went to the conference, I didn’t see that. I only see that fever around the Windows API. And the Surface laptop.

Benioff’s vitriol is not without some merit as Microsoft outbid the company for the professional networking social media company LinkedIn last year. Since then, Benioff has seemingly taken every opportunity to express his frustration, distrust, and hesitation with any talks of collaboration between the two companies are mentioned.

Since the LinkedIn acquisition, Salesforce and Microsoft have quickly drifted into antagonistic parallel directions with Salesforce cozying up to Google as its chosen cloud solution and Microsoft snagging a handful of big-name would-be Salesforce customers in the CRM sector.

Benioff may have garnered a few chuckles and some awkward groans while blasting Microsoft’s hardware efforts and inability to keep highly regarded management at the company, but his opposition seems positioned to steadily encroach on Salesforce’s territory.

According to SherWeb, Microsoft offers a more flexible solution as much more reasonable price.

SherWeb’s core values include offering only best-of-breed IT solutions. For every service we offer, from email hosting to Infrastructure-as-a-Service or CRM, we want our customers and partners to get access to the best solutions on the market. That’s why we chose to offer Dynamics CRM Online.

Even though Salesforce offers a good CRM solution, we believe that Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers even more in terms of reliability, capacity to deliver new features and cost efficiency. Paired with the Office 365 integration, it just makes sense for businesses to choose CRM Online.

If Microsoft becomes as laser-focused on CRM solutions as it seems to be on cloud run-rates, Benioff may have to refocus his criticisms soon.