Getting off Apple and going all Google has increased my respect for both companies. I've come to realize that the very best mobile experience right now is built on a foundation of Google services on Apple hardware. I wish only that these two companies could get along better, and that Apple will allow more Google integration on the iPhone.
Marc Benioff: all software will eventually look like Facebook
Salesforce Chatter looks a lot like Facebook, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says that's no accident. It's a reflection of how employees now expect enterprise software to work.
"I think all software will look like Facebook," he said.
Enterprise software companies will have to rewrite current products as "feed-based platforms, with status updates, likes, and so forth," continued Benioff. "This is what users have been trained to do. If you can collaborate around a photo, you can certainly collaborate around customer functions."
Benioff returned to the theme of "feed-based" platforms several times. In effect, he was saying that workers are accustomed to seeing all relevant information in real time, arranged in a reverse-chronological stream. The asynchronous back-and-forth of email or traditional check-in-check-out platforms like SharePoint are not immediate enough and will be replaced.
He also praised to Facebook's success in spreading its authentication platform across millions of web sites and apps, creating a kind of single sign-on for the web.
"Log in with Salesforce comes out of the Facebook metaphor. Users are used to that idea, so there needs to be an enterprise analog."
He acknowledged that other companies are trying to create the same kind of unified log-in -- Okta is a particularly well-known startup in the space, and Microsoft has been toying with the idea of a universal log-in for more than a decade -- but he wants Salesforce to be a player there no matter what.
"We're not going to be the only ones, but we're gonna be one of them. If we can be first, all the better. We like being visionary, being right, being out there 4 or 5 years."
Benioff also believes that the Facebook generation will have totally different expectations about user privacy, which will reflect itself in government legislation as they begin to take power. "The current generation of leadership in place today was not raised on this technology, so these issues are new to them. Look at how youth behaves on social networks, it's completely different. As they get into positions of power and in office, they will dramatically change policy."
By way of example, Benioff cited Europe's plans to create a "right to forget" policy, so that social network users could erase all information about themselves, permanently, with a click of a button. He expects future generations to be more aware of these kinds of issues, but also less likely to insist on government regulation to protect them.
So if Facebook's so great, why is the stock down almost 50% since the IPO?
"Don't judge a company by its IPO," he warned.
He suggested that Facebook should have traded on the New York Stock Exchange rather than the NASDAQ, which was not prepared for the volume of transactions on IPO day, and also said that Facebook had probably waited too long. Investors like to see hyper-growth, and Facebook went public just as that phase was ending.
But it's still one of the most influential tech companies in a generation.
"Facebook is the most popular application on the planet. There are a billion people on this thing, and more than half of them have logged into it today, which is pretty incredible."
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