As Salesforce.com continues to grow, a couple of possible scenarios emerge, Wang said. It could be acquired by a larger company, such as Cisco Systems, that wants to expand its presence in software, or face competition from a new on-demand CRM offering introduced by such a player, he said.
Meanwhile, Salesforce.com "learned a lesson" from the fate of CRM vendor Siebel, which was acquired by Oracle, by moving quickly to become a platform provider through its Force.com development platform and AppExchange marketplace, Wang said.
But if Salesforce.com remains independent, it must decide what to build itself and what to leave to partners, he added. In addition, Force.com will face competition from alternatives like Microsoft's nascent Azure cloud development platform.
It also remains to be seen how the vendor will counteract a growing trend toward hybrid deployment models involving both on-premise and on-demand software, said 451 Group analyst China Martens via e-mail. "How does Salesforce.com counter that, given it's a SaaS pure-play?"
Salesforce.com may have already anticipated this need. It recently announced a partnership with Adobe around the latter's RIA (rich Internet application) technology, which lets users create applications with off-line functionality.
Dreamforce will continue through Friday in San Francisco.
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