Marc the software slayer’s new mission

April 28, 2009

Web-based software maker Salesforce.com has a new slogan.

The company’s brash founder, Marc Benioff, built a software business that generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue based on a slogan that makes you wonder if he is in the right business: “The end of software.” (He argued that he sells a service that customers access over the Web, not the traditional kind of software that companies install on their own computers.)

On Tuesday, Benioff rolled out a new slogan.

“It’s time to open up a new front in “The End of Software”– one that is long overdue,” Benioff said in an email to managers at the 10-year old company. “It’s time for The End of Maintenance.”

Salesforce is now going after the maintenance fees that the software industry has long charged for updates and bug fixes. With such costs ranging from 20 percent to 25 percent of the original price of the software, Benioff points out that means customers are paying for their software all over again every four or five years. For Salesforce and “software as a service” peers like NetSuite, Workday, SuccessFactors and RightNow, they don’t charge charge maintenance fees as all costs are included in subscription fees.

(Reuters photo: Benioff (R), along with musician Neil Young (C) and his business partner Jonathan Goodwin (L), displays a 1959 Lincoln Continental Mark IV that runs on electricity and natural gas during Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, California on November 3, 2008)

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