Not long after leaving Oracle to start Salesforce, Benioff emerged as cloud computing’s more persuasive evangelist.
Salesforce.com is expected to generate $3 billion in annual revenue this year and has a market value of $19 billion.
Ellison, who has an estimated fortune of $36 billion, was one of Salesforce’s earliest investors. He also owns a 46-percent stake in a Salesforce rival, NetSuite Inc., run by another former Oracle executive, Zach Nelson.
Oracle’s expansion into cloud computing also puts Ellison on a collision course with an old antagonist, software entrepreneur David Duffield. Ellison bought Duffield’s former company, PeopleSoft, for $11.1 billion in 2005 after a bitter takeover battle that lasted 18 months.
Duffield has since started a cloud-computing service called Workday that sells human resources management tools.
Ellison predicted Oracle eventually will trump Salesforce and Workday by offering a wider and more secure range of services that will fulfill all the cloud computing needs of large companies, government agencies, school districts, and universities.
Oracle’s new services include “”social relationship management” tools to analyze what people are saying on Facebook’s social network and other online forums such as Twitter.
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