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Benioff comes out swinging at Oracle

After his OpenWorld keynote is cancelled, the Salesforce.com CEO vents

The Salesforce.com chief continued his spat with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Wednesday morning -- and you might not see Marc Benioff at an Oracle conference again.

Benioff came out swinging after Oracle cancelled his OpenWorld keynote and relegated him to what will probably be a quieter spot at the show on Thursday morning.

"Oracle is saying we can go on at 8 a.m. tomorrow when the show is over. Thanks, Oracle, for that opportunity," Benioff said, speaking at a nearby restaurant where his team had quickly arranged an alternative location for him to speak.

"They also offered us an 8 a.m. slot on Sunday on Alcatraz," Benioff quipped. "Thanks for that too, Oracle."

He introduced his mother in the audience, who he said was there because "she's upset with me that I pissed off Larry so much that he cancelled my keynote. So I apologize to my mother as well."

He then laid into the OpenWorld event itself, and the big, engineered software-and-hardware systems such as the Exadata Database Machine that Oracle has been pitching there all week.

"This show has been mostly about a next-generation mainframe, and the disappointment is that when I was at Oracle, when we used to put on OpenWorld, OpenWorld was about ideas and the industry and what would happen next and what we could get motivated about."

"It's just my personal philosophy that this is not the next great thing in our industry," Benioff said. The next big thing for Benioff, of course, is running a business in the cloud with no hardware.

"That's the fundamental premise" of why his speech was cancelled, he said.

The spat flared up between the two CEOs on Tuesday, when Benioff tweeted that Ellison had "cancelled" his keynote at the last minute. Oracle has said it didn't cancel the speech but had to move some events around because the show is so busy.

Benioff and Ellison have had a love-hate relationship for years. Ellison was an early investor in Salesforce.com, but Benioff has taken jabs at his former employer on numerous occasions, including at a speech in Boston a few months ago.

On Sunday he republished several Twitter posts from other people who were critical of Ellison's opening keynote at the show; that's been seen as the motivation for moving his speech.


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