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Enterprise

Burned Once, SAP and Oracle Confront Next Salesforce Threat

When Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff takes the stage Tuesday to announce the company’s newest product, he’ll focus attention on the world of business intelligence, a multi-billion-dollar market even bigger than the customer relationship management realm.

He’ll also up the stakes in the battle among Salesforce.com and enterprise giants SAP and Oracle, two old-guard firms vying to prove to investors they’re adapting to the cloud computing revolution even as they work to block the younger Salesforce.com from intruding on yet another critical line of business.

Salesforce.com has eaten into both companies’ share of software for keeping track of customers. And even though Salesforce.com’s current sales are only a quarter the size of SAP’s and a little more than a tenth the size of Oracle’s, the giants cannot afford to let another major software category slip away.

“It’s tough to not take Salesforce seriously. Even if they have a crappy product, they’ll market the snot out of it,” said one business intelligence software founder. The new Salesforce.com offering “is a direct threat to one of two businesses [Oracle and SAP] cannot afford to lose.”

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