Marc Benioff is known to be a loud-mouth, talking about the industry from a position of expertise, while saying things that can be surprising. He once called out Oracle, his former employer, after changing the schedule for an event and canceling his keynote address, for producing and pushing an outdated technology. Obviously no one at Oracle was happy about this statement, and no one at Microsoft is going to be thrilled about his statement this week.
At Cloudforce, a convention promoting the use of cloud-based technologies, Benioff went a little off-script during a press conference and made some pretty blunt statements about Microsoft and their soon to be released Windows 8. In specific, he said Windows 8 was not going to be successful for Microsoft.
Windows 8 is the gambit - will (CIOs) upgrade, or will they do something else? It's the end of Windows... Windows is irrelevant.
What Benioff doesn't seem to realize is that Windows 8 is an operating system unlike any other out there. It is designed with touch in mind, but to be able to be used with a mouse. It will run on Intel, AMD and ARM processors, meaning desktops, laptops and tablets. The OS supports new Modern UI applications as well as existing applications. Hundreds of thousands of applications have been written to work on Windows that enterprises already use that cannot be easily replaced by an Android app. It also allows employees who are generally unfamiliar with computers to use the same software on their laptop/desktop and on-the-go.
While cloud-based software is nice and can level the playing field under some circumstances, it is a lot more difficult to use when you are without Internet access. I believe there is a place for both basic mobile devices, such as the iPad, and sophisticated mobile devices, such as the Surface, launching with Windows 8. The idea that anyone in the technology industry could think that there is no place for a mobile-friendly version of Windows in the enterprise market should probably retire because their judgment is obviously compromised.