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Box CEO Aaron Levie and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff
Box CEO Aaron Levie and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

SAN FRANCISCO–Marc Benioff, the co-founder and outspoken CEO of cloud software giant Salesforce, thinks that cloud-based software adoption has hit a “sweet spot” where the vast majority of enterprises are interested in making the transition to subscription-based software and cloud services to power their businesses.

In an interview with Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie at the Box Dev conference in San Francisco today, Benioff said that he had a really simple metric informing his perspective: the people he meets with when discussing Salesforce adoption with a customer.

Marc Benioff
Marc Benioff

“When I look at the customers that I visit with, of course I go out and meet with the line of business executives, of course I always meet the chief information officer, but more often than not today, I’m meeting with the chief exectuive officer,” he said. “And that’s really new.”

In Benioff’s view, his company’s success doesn’t have to be unique. He told Levie that there’s plenty of room for different companies to succeed in the enterprise software market and there won’t be one company to rule it all.

“Software is not a zero-sum game,” Benioff said. “These are huge mega-markets. Everybody can be successful. Everybody can enjoy the abundance that is out there.”

But that’s not to say companies don’t need to remain competitive. He saved some particularly pointed criticism for German enterprise software giant SAP. To illustrate his point, he talked about a customer who switched to Salesforce from SAP – something that he said was “appropriate.”

“That’s really because SAP has probably done as bad a job at innovating in the past decade as any technology company that I’ve ever witnessed in my history over 35 years,” Benioff said.

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