Salesforce CEO dismisses Microsoft as a competitor

Key Points
  • Benioff made fun of the Surface and said Microsoft has had many executive departures.
  • At Dreamforce, Salesforce announced an expansive partnership with Google.
Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff.
Getty Images

At Dreamforce two years ago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had a prime speaking spot and Salesforce's Marc Benioff touted the blossoming partnership between the two companies.

Those days are gone.

On Tuesday, Benioff used part of Salesforce's investor day meeting at Dreamforce to talk up Salesforce's expanded partnership with Google and its growing relationships with Amazon, Cisco, Dell and IBM.

But he didn't include Microsoft in that group, even after the companies made a big deal about their work together in 2014 and again in 2015.

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It's a complicated relationship. Microsoft and Salesforce compete in areas like business intelligence and customer relationship management software. Beyond that, Microsoft outbid Salesforce for LinkedIn in 2016, and Microsoft previously tried to buy Salesforce.

This week, Salesforce made some moves of its own onto Microsoft's turf, integrating more deeply with both Google and Facebook.

At the investor meeting, Kirk Materne of Evercore asked Benioff if it would be possible for Microsoft and Salesforce to "come back together on behalf of customers."

Here's a transcript of what Benioff said in response:

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.

Microsoft declined to comment.

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