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Windows 8 will mark 'the end' of the Microsoft OS, says CEO Benioff

You won't see the phrase 'Windows 8 upgrade cycle' become common, Benioff says

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Microsoft's Windows 8 will mark "the end" of the computer industry's dominant OS thanks to rapidly increasing competition and choice, according to CEO Marc Benioff.

Windows 8 is a catalyst or "gambit" for CIOs, forcing them to say "am I going to Windows 8, or am I going to something else," Benioff said during a question-and-answer session at's Cloudforce event in New York, which was webcast.

Years ago, "a common phrase was, 'the Windows 7 upgrade cycle,'" Benioff added. "You're not going to hear about the Windows 8 upgrade cycle. I'm not saying that as a big, aggressive statement against Microsoft, that's just the reality of today's environment."

Windows has become "irrelevant," being displaced by next-generation LTE wireless networks that will "disintermediate" the need for WANs and LANs, along with "all of these great services that are available right off the cloud."

"Now, we're not completely there," Benioff added. "Everything is not heterogenous client, everything is not LTE, everything is not cloud ... But we're going to this great new place in our industry."

A Microsoft representative declined to comment on Benioff's remarks.

In an effort to validate his claims, Benioff referred to a conversation he had with a global CIO recently, whom he did not name.

"Her goal is to get rid of all of the PCs," Benioff said. "She doesn't see a demand curve from users for PCs." Instead, the CIO is hoping to move to a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) approach, Benioff said. Next-generation mobile devices have "forced CIOs to make changes already," he added.

Of course, Benioff is hardly the only person predicting that Windows 8 may be in trouble. His claim also serves well, since its software is cloud-delivered to multiple platforms and devices, not installed in a customer's data center and run solely on PCs.

Also Friday, Benioff touched upon's ongoing attempt to become "the customer company," in the sense of a vendor that can provide tools and services for connecting companies with their customers. That's meant a primary focus on sales, marketing and collaboration software, but recently took a small step into human resources applications with the introduction of for employee performance management.

It's also formed partnerships with cloud ERP (enterprise-resource-planning) vendors such as Workday. But on Friday, Benioff maintained that isn't keen on going further into back-office processes for now. "We integrate with the back-office providers like SAP and Oracle but we want to be that dominant front-office provider, and that's the piece we're focused on," he said. has also been presenting itself as a vendor that can help companies become "social enterprises," with many aspects of the business becoming infused with a social-networking and sharing milieu.

One questioner noted that this approach constitutes a move into "business transformation" for, a pursuit that comes with higher expectations on the part of customers.

"In a lot of cases we just apply our model to their business, and they start to become a lot like our business," Benioff said. "I see Coca-Cola as a cloud company, I see Toyota as a cloud company."

All these companies are looking to transform and change because they want to grow," he added. "There's all these vehicles for transformation today. They need a catalyst. If we can be a facilitator for that, great."

While has grown rapidly in recent years toward US$3 billion in annual revenue, the growth opportunities may only be just starting, Benioff suggested.

"The next generation of leaders has come up, the next generation is getting promoted and the last generation is going out," he said. "That's what's happening at a lot of our customers. The people who made that Oracle decision, that SAP decision, they're not there anymore. Because in the last five to 10 years, all the seats have changed, and the new people are modern, up-to-date people. Their brand preference on technology has changed."


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God of the whole universe said: Thats rubbish Windows will always be number one Everyone else has had every opportunity to push their products Apple should just die already and Linux has had how long to get there Windows 8 itself is probably a load of rubbish but windows 7 is excellent

Mike_Acker said: the only real significance of Win8 is MSFT retreat from the desktop not that such retreat is a bad strategy-- it may be very good -- as there is likely a lot more business to be had in the entertainment gaming and social arenas too it may really help those who wish to push more and more service into the self-service area-- as we know-- touch screens can be made very simple to usebut these services are a production of serious computer work they are not the serious work itself my guess is well see desk-top computers run at a fairly stable level for a while and at the same time the mobil entertainment self-service gaming and social app areas will continue to expand -- as a greater percentage of the general population become computer active on a daily basis remember the pundits havnt got rid of the PrintampFAX network yet and they wont -- until people learn how to authenticate electronic transmittals

GeneralmotorsGravytrain said: I think we should all hold out for Windows 9 two years down the road Windows 7 is more than good enough for now Consumers might as well save money and not upgrade to Windows 8 Only those consumers who are buying new computing devices should get Windows 8 OEM I doubt that the desktop PC is completely done for but more consumers will certainly buying more mobile devices Microsofts neverending cash cow may become a cash calf Thats OK Microsoft can go two more years with lower earnings and still do well

dextrous said: The cloud model is still not proven realistic for enterprise cutomers it takes time and efforts before you see the client server model is completely gone Microsoft already working on the cloud model and idont see in future word microsoft is unknown to users

vdx660 said: Benioff is saying this because Salesforcecom is losing fast to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Salesforcecom is becoming obsolete and will soon be replaced by a Metrofied Dynamics CRM

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