Benioff Cries Foul Following Alleged OpenWorld Keynote Snub

Lines in the sand are being drawn as CEO Marc Benioff had his much-hyped keynote at this week's Oracle OpenWorld conference cancelled out from under him at the last minute -- and Benioff is crying foul.

For a deep dive into the timeline of this most recent Oracle/Salesforce spat, I strongly recommend taking a look at AllThingsD's story. But as that article points out, the most obvious reason for the cancellation may well be the fact that Benioff spent a fair amount of his time in the spotlight at the recent Dreamforce '11 event warning attendees of the dangers of "false cloud," singling out Oracle as a significant perpetrator.

Of course, Oracle claims Benioff's keynote was pushed aside due to scheduling difficulties. But Benioff doesn't believe it one bit, and took to Twitter to promote his impromptu alternate keynote, held at the nearby St. Regis AME Restaurant. And apparently Oracle OpenWorld attendees abandoned the conference in droves to see Benioff hold court, with lines stretching around the block.

Benioff used variations of the phrase "The Cloud Must Go On" when discussing this matter, which indicated he's taking all this as a legitimization of Salesforce's business model; after all, if Benioff weren't correct about the wrongheadedness of Oracle's cloud strategy (or lack thereof), he said, then why would Oracle fear what he had to say?

In other words, Benioff and Salesforce took this alleged snub as the perfect opportunity to shake up the cloud services channel by asking them to rally around the flag of 100 percent SaaS and reject legacy developers. And the speech Benioff eventually gave to his dedicated supporters was reportedly an indictment of Oracle and another chance to promote Salesforce's Social Enterprise strategy.

And on the other side of things, it could be argued that Oracle threw the first punch: Hired hucksters in Oracle t-shirts used balloons and signs to promote the company's CRM to attendees at Dreamforce '11.

But no matter what, it looks as though relations between Benioff and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison have broken down, perhaps irrevocably. TalkinCloud will definitely be listening for more.

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