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Benioff said his cloud and social computing revolution message is a "contrarian" view in the Oracle universe. "You can be (former Eygptian President Hosni) Mubarek (who was forced to step down in the wake of a social revolution that leveraged Facebook and Twitter) and say it doesn't exist," said Benioff. "You can say it doesn't exist. You can say we don't want to hear about it. But the reality is the people now have an alternative way of communicating. You don't have to have the formal Oracle OpenWorld communication to re-organize in a few hours. You can use social media. That is how you all got here."
Benioff, a former Oracle employee, said he was disappointed that Oracle OpenWorld is not addressing the compelling future that comes with cloud computing and social networks. "This show, Oracle OpenWorld, has mostly been about a next generation mainframe computer," he said. "The disappointment for me is that when I was at Oracle, Oracle OpenWorld was about ideas and the industry and what was happening next, (things) we could get excited and motivated about."
"There is something really exciting happening in our industry," continued Benioff. "Something amazing that is happening in our industry. Something spectacular that we need to tap into, that we need to connect to transform our industry, to get away from proprietary hardware, to get away from the proprietary software and to move into something that we call the cloud." Benioff claims that his focus on changing the world through cloud computing is what prompted the cancellation of his keynote session. "I think that is why indeed we were cancelled this morning," he said. "That is not the message that Oracle wants. I respect that. But we are not here to sell more computers this morning."
Benioff warned that those companies that do not use social networks to listen to their customers and employees will face dire consequences. He pointed to the sharp drop in market valuation experienced by both Hewlett Packard and Netflix in the wake of strategic decisions that were viewed negatively by investors.
"It is about social power," he said, referring to the social networks that Salesforce.com has built for companies like Burberry, Bank of America and General Electric's CNBC unit. "It is really about listening to customers and employees in a whole new way. If you are not listening to your customers and employees and if you are not paying attention to what is going on with them, then you will face what HP has faced. You will face what Netflix has faced over the last several weeks."