Is Salesforce.com Switching To Macs?

There’s a rumor going around that Salesforce.com is switching all of its 4000 employees over to Macs.  If so, this will be the first high profile complete Windows to Mac enterprise defection that I’ve heard of recently (I’m sure there are others, but they haven’t been high profile or big enough to catch my attention.)

For several months, I’ve been suggesting that when larger (great than 2,500 employee) companies start defecting en masse (e.g. the entire company) to Macs, it will signal another potential tectonic shift (and opportunity) in the software business.

Unless you are a browser centric company, it’s still really challenging to fully integrate Windows and Macs in one environment.  It can be done (we do it – even at a 12 person company) but it’s grody and the Mac users are always on the short end of things.  This isn’t new – it’s been going on since the last real attempted foray into the Mac into enterprise in the late 1980’s.

But the pressure on Microsoft and the market dynamics, especially among younger users, seems different to me this time.  I’ve tried to switch to a Mac several times and given up each time because of application integration – in my case Exchange (mail, shared calendar, and tasks), SharePoint, and my cell phone integration with Exchange.  I’ve tried a bunch of different approaches – none of them really worked short of dumping the Microsoft apps and switching to something different which I’m not willing to do – yet.

Some of my daily world is comfortably cross-platform (Firefox, Skype, Trillian, and all the NewsGator stuff I use) and does the "right thing" synchronizing data in the cloud.  But enough isn’t that I just can’t seem to make the switch.

Apple’s finally licensing Microsoft’s ActiveSync and incorporating it into the iPhone will probably get me to switch to an iPhone (from my Tmobile Dash) – assuming the Exchange integration is complete (mail + calendar + address book + tasks).  If Entourage 2008 had an equivalent level of integration with Exchange (or the Apple mail / calendar / contact apps incorporated ActiveSync) I’d try again on the Mac.

Yes – I know I can use Fusion or Parallels – I’ve tried – they just aren’t satisfying enough.  I also know we can throw out all of our Microsoft stuff and switch over to Google Apps or something else – we’ve got to much of an infrastructure investment – even at 12 people – to bother with that at this point (imagine if we were 4,000 people!)

But – it feels like another wave is about to break on us and the chance of a broad change will once again be in our (and Microsoft’s) face.  Microsoft can play offense or defense here – all of the Live Mesh stuff from last week is offense and I’m glad to see it from my friends in Redmond.

I think all of this tension, pressure, and change is good because I want to see (and participate) in more innovation.  More, more, more.  Of course, this won’t really matter much next week since it’s likely going to be all about Microsoft and Yahoo.

  • Chris

    Try dumping Exchange for Zimbra. It integrates with Outlook MAPI, Activasync, Blackberry, iSync, has a J2ME client for java mobiles and the list goes on. We switched several months ago and have had no issues supporting all of the collaboration that Exchange provides (and more) in a mixed Mac/Windows environment.

  • http://www.venturedeal.com Don Jones

    Is this where the virtualization technology comes in to help – the VMware's of the world? It makes the OS less relevant?

  • http://www.tech-surf-blog.com Graeme Thickins

    why do I get the feeling you're finally realizing you will one day succumb, Brad? :-)

  • Skeuomorph

    “I also know we can throw out all of our Microsoft stuff and switch over to Google Apps or something else”

    The newest Microsoft Office is for the Mac. Aside from that, Pages edits Word 2007 .docx files, Numbers edits Excel 2007 .xlsx files, and Keynote edits Powerpoint.

    Speaking as an Office user since 1990, and Windows user from 1992 – 2004, this is a surprisingly pleasant switch. I have Office 2008, as well as Office 2007 in Parallels coherence mode, and never launch either one.

    “If Entourage 2008 had an equivalent level of integration with Exchange (or the Apple mail / calendar / contact apps incorporated ActiveSync) I'd try again on the Mac.”

    We hated Entourage 2008 so badly, that after paying to upgrade everyone, we dumped it. Exchange lasted longer than the rest of office, but Google Apps' introduction of IMAP and the Calendar and Contact APIs allowed the move. We switched from Moto Qs and Blackberry Pearls over recent months, and finally cancelled our corporate Exchange hosting this month. Using IMAP keeps all desktop and portable computers in sync for mail, including flags and read status. iCal syncs personal and shared company calendars to Google Calendar using BusySync (or Spanning Sync subscription). Plaxo keeps contacts in sync, but that's coming soon for Spanning Sync thanks to Google Contacts API.

  • Shane Ketterman

    This is highly encouraging to hear, yet, sadly MS will take the defense. They come back fighting like immature kids that aren't yet ready to accept change. People are getting exposed to an Operating System and design that isn't bothersome or in your way and MS still hasn't latched on and rewritted theirs from the ground up. This reminds me of the Porter's Five Forces model in strategic planning and I have to say…..maybe MS should use it or at least update their SWOT. They might be amazed the world is changing.

  • MikeK

    If things are working for you under Windows why on earth would you want to change?

  • Raj

    I no longer run Windows on physical hardware — it's all Ubuntu. “Hardy Heron” is pretty awesome.

    Windows on VMWare feels great for me — it seems much faster.

  • John Madden

    I have 62 employees including 40 salespeople in one location in the US, and I'm opening an office in Sydney with 10 more – all on Macs. They never break, they never get viruses, and the slimline form factor of the iMac takes up very little room on a desktop. I cannot be more pleased with my Macs. SalesForce runs well in both Safari and Firefox, although an application I got off the AppExchange (AccessHoovers) will often hang Safari, so we use Firefox. Armed with a few off-the-shelf software products including Office 2004, we rarely problems of any kind. My only issue is that the rest of the business world hasn't caught up. I would recommend 100% to anyone to make the switch. Security is a breeze, and if you absolutely need Windows, Boot Camp lets you run your Mac as though it was a PC. Sorry, Mr. Gates – we won't be needing your services anymore.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/graeme_thic3081 graeme_thic3081

    why do I get the feeling you're finally realizing you will one day succumb, Brad? :-)

  • Skeuomorph

    "I also know we can throw out all of our Microsoft stuff and switch over to Google Apps or something else"

    The newest Microsoft Office is for the Mac. Aside from that, Pages edits Word 2007 .docx files, Numbers edits Excel 2007 .xlsx files, and Keynote edits Powerpoint.

    Speaking as an Office user since 1990, and Windows user from 1992 – 2004, this is a surprisingly pleasant switch. I have Office 2008, as well as Office 2007 in Parallels coherence mode, and never launch either one.

    "If Entourage 2008 had an equivalent level of integration with Exchange (or the Apple mail / calendar / contact apps incorporated ActiveSync) I'd try again on the Mac."

    We hated Entourage 2008 so badly, that after paying to upgrade everyone, we dumped it. Exchange lasted longer than the rest of office, but Google Apps' introduction of IMAP and the Calendar and Contact APIs allowed the move. We switched from Moto Qs and Blackberry Pearls over recent months, and finally cancelled our corporate Exchange hosting this month. Using IMAP keeps all desktop and portable computers in sync for mail, including flags and read status. iCal syncs personal and shared company calendars to Google Calendar using BusySync (or Spanning Sync subscription). Plaxo keeps contacts in sync, but that's coming soon for Spanning Sync thanks to Google Contacts API.

  • Chris

    Try dumping Exchange for Zimbra. It integrates with Outlook MAPI, Activasync, Blackberry, iSync, has a J2ME client for java mobiles and the list goes on. We switched several months ago and have had no issues supporting all of the collaboration that Exchange provides (and more) in a mixed Mac/Windows environment.

  • Don Jones

    Is this where the virtualization technology comes in to help – the VMware's of the world? It makes the OS less relevant?

  • Shane Ketterman

    This is highly encouraging to hear, yet, sadly MS will take the defense. They come back fighting like immature kids that aren't yet ready to accept change. People are getting exposed to an Operating System and design that isn't bothersome or in your way and MS still hasn't latched on and rewritted theirs from the ground up. This reminds me of the Porter's Five Forces model in strategic planning and I have to say…..maybe MS should use it or at least update their SWOT. They might be amazed the world is changing.

  • MikeK

    If things are working for you under Windows why on earth would you want to change?

  • Raj

    I no longer run Windows on physical hardware — it's all Ubuntu. "Hardy Heron" is pretty awesome.

    Windows on VMWare feels great for me — it seems much faster.

  • John Madden

    I have 62 employees including 40 salespeople in one location in the US, and I'm opening an office in Sydney with 10 more – all on Macs. They never break, they never get viruses, and the slimline form factor of the iMac takes up very little room on a desktop. I cannot be more pleased with my Macs. SalesForce runs well in both Safari and Firefox, although an application I got off the AppExchange (AccessHoovers) will often hang Safari, so we use Firefox. Armed with a few off-the-shelf software products including Office 2004, we rarely problems of any kind. My only issue is that the rest of the business world hasn't caught up. I would recommend 100% to anyone to make the switch. Security is a breeze, and if you absolutely need Windows, Boot Camp lets you run your Mac as though it was a PC. Sorry, Mr. Gates – we won't be needing your services anymore.