Well, the vultures are circling again. Looks like SF.com had some downtime again this month. 3% of their market cap was shaved off by this. I actually have to stand up a bit in support of SF.com on this one. All the major services I use now-a-days (Google included) are buckling under their growth. SF.com is growing with unparalleled speed, they are doing this all with a database back end (as opposed to just publishing pages like a blogging site), and in general they do a good job of it. We use SF.com at Newmerix and these blips don't deter me one bit from enjoying the simplistic utility of it. Lets give em some room to work out a better architecture and handle their growth.
Two days ago, SAP announced their acquisition of Virsa. This was a pretty expected move by them, but it does point out a few things:
1) SAP is being more open to growth through acquisition
2) They are investing in edge technologies that all of their customers are demanding/requiring
There is a good quote from Shai on this where he points out that SAP, because they are not mired in a multi-year integration problem, can actually focus on incremental value. For the time being, that argument holds water with me. Wether I think SAP can get to 100,000 customers in the next 6 years is a different thing.
For quite a while now I have been tracking NetSuite in the background. Yes, you know NetSuite, its the other CRM OnDemand company that Larry Ellison invested in. Well, today they launched a feature called SuiteScript. While this was little covered in the press it seems, it is actually a pretty big deal. NetSuite basically just threw down the gauntlet to SF.com. You see, the anti-SF.com pundits have always said SF.com isn't a REAL packaged application platform because there is no way to add your own custom code. Even at Software 2006 which I just attended, this subject came up a few times. Well, look what the cat dragged in - an online, OnDemand code customization framework. This really ups the ante for the traditional players and is a very nice feather in the cap of NetSuite as they barell towards their IPO. Of course, as my readers will know, this will also introduce a world of hurt for them and their customers during the upgrade process. But I am intrigued to see how this plays out on a centralized multi-tenant database platform. I have high hopes.
Every once and a while the press actually asks the right questions. There is a good article today in Optimize magazine which asks the right question, "How do i innovate over the next 2-5 years without a major migration or having to pick sides between Oracle and SAP?" While the article's answer is nothing very new (check out my "Point, CounterPoint" blarticle if you want a deeper technical explanation of the same answer) - at least the right questions are starting to be asked by the press.
For those that frequent BigEndian (and Parallax), you will know that I am a firm believer that companies who provide the most development tools on their platforms, tend to emerge as the leaders in the long run. Well, Typepad has entered the fray with a whole series of Widgets. While there is mixed commentary on how well they are implemented (Fred Wilson's comments), I am simply glad to see them going about the blogging platform wars the right way (by providing as many development tools as possible). As a side note, Alexa's traffic rankings put the top two blog sites (in the context of the Top 500 sites) as:
19 - Blogger (Google)
131 - Typepad
Even if Alexa is way off with a 50% margin of error, the ranking difference would still be significant. I know i'm skipping stats like total subscribers versus active subscribers, paying subscribers, etc.. but in any count, typepad has a long way to go. Taking a platform is a good start.
I have written about 30,000 words on the Oracle versus SAP battle. I think the following 2 minute YouTube video pretty much blows anything I have said away. Darth Ellison battles the forces of Jedi ABAP and Jedi Java. Who knew those folks in Waldorf could be so whacky.
I have written a number of shorter and longer posts about how to win or lose a technology platform battle. I think in all the discussion I may have actually forgotten the most important rule to this game, "First declare you have a platform." Well, Microsoft finally seems to be getting this platform religion with the Office suite and is going full steam ahead on this front. Check out this article about their integration between Outlook and Siebel (Microsoft uses Siebel from CRM, not their own MS-CRM ironically). In addition, it appears that I have been sleeping at the blogging wheel and missed the first ever MS Office Developer Conference last year. A series of information related to it: