Surprise Surprise: Not Everyone at Salesforce.com is Happy About the Microsoft Link Up
From the moment it was announced, the ‘strategic’ relationship between Microsoft and Salesforce.com was always going to cause a stir, not just within the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community, but at Salesforce too.
What you need to remember is that Salesforce has spent the vast majority of its life constantly disparaging Microsoft, hoping to ‘kill’ it (unlikely), and creating a company culture of going all out to do so.
It’s no surprise then that, despite the public display of affection between their respective CEOs, some employees of both vendors just can’t help but vocalise their blood thirst for victory over the other.
It looks as though senior director of product marketing at Salesforce, Jody Kohner, has been caught out not towing the party line, likening the strategy of getting in bed with Microsoft as a deliberate ploy to entice Microsoft to its doom.
Here’s what she apparently said at a recent training event:
“We're gonna wrap our arms around Microsoft. We're gonna pretend like we're a boa constrictor. And we're gonna suck the life out of them."
You can read more in this Business Insider article, but the view is clearly an unsanctioned one as the official PR department comment makes clear.
However, it’s not just Salesforce employees that are struggling with the new loved-up world order.
Kevin Turner, COO of Microsoft, in his vision keynote at the World Partner Conference in July, talked openly and passionately about how Microsoft still has to compete with Salesforce, and that he will do everything he can to make sure Microsoft wins.
I also attended a session at WPC which was actually entitled ‘Compete and Win Against Salesforce.com’. The language and tone was very different to that allegedly used by Kohner, but the sentiment was the same.
I still feel that, long term, the relationship benefits Microsoft more. It creates the opportunity for its cloud offerings, namely Office 365 and Azure (including SQL), and mobile platform to grow.
It also has a partner structure in place that enables a customer to be nurtured, rather than sold at, which in my experience, is the complaint I hear most about from customers engaged with Salesforce.
Being new best friends reminds me somewhat of the UK coalition government after the last general election: the leadership is united, but the grass roots are finding it a little trickier to stay on message.