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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff addresses Twitter rumours, LinkedIn concerns, Brexit and Larry Ellison’s sensitivity in an investor Q&A at Dreamforce

Scott Carey | Oct. 7, 2016
Fresh from his keynote address at Dreamforce this year the Salesforce CEO looked to address investor concerns, including those Twitter bid rumours

Benioff also responded to claims that Salesforce's run at LinkedIn was about its proprietary data. "Other companies are buying assets just for the data, that isn't why we are interested in assets. Like LinkedIn, Microsoft wants to take that data as a proprietary asset, according to [Microsoft executive vice president] Scott Guthrie. We liked that asset because of its deferred revenue."

Benioff inevitably touched upon the recent comments by Guthrie, following up on tweets he sent in the aftermath of his comments.

During the Q&A he reiterated his position, saying: "You can't combine assets to create barriers to entry, because that's illegal. Guthrie made aggressive statements about these assets. And it's not just us, Oracle is on board with us, Infor is on board with us and other companies that aren't ready to come forward agree with us that what they are saying they are going to do is not cool."

Brexit and the fiscal roadmap

Benioff told investors that they are "on the fast track to $20 billion [revenue], we just have to execute that keynote we just did, that is the twenty billion plan."

The keynote ran through all of Salesforce's recent announcements and focused heavily on its new AI offering called Einstein. Read next: What is Salesforce's AI powered Einstein product? When can customers try Einstein and how much will it cost?

However he did admit that Brexit took them by surprise: "We got a curve ball this year with the Great British Pound, but we are going to make our commitment even with that. The pound went from 1.50 to 1.25, not that I follow it, and that had a material impact on our revenue."

Talking about their numbers Benioff went on to state their leading position in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market, regardless of what their rivals may say. He said: "The numbers are not that bad. Larry [Ellison] said "we are the only ones selling $2 billion in the cloud," I think, do you look at our financials or just pretend we don't exist?"

"The thing is he is one of my five best friends but I don't want to say anything to him because he is one of the most sensitive people I know."


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