Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

If You See Marc Benioff Smiling Today, Here’s Why

If you happen to run into CEO Marc Benioff in the next several days, and if he seems a little happier or more jovial than usual, it may just be because his company is on track to report a solid quarter when it announces results on Aug. 16.

If you don’t believe me, ask Karl Keirstead, the analyst at BMO Capital Markets, who wrote in a note to clients last night that Salesforce appears not to be suffering from any of the troubles hitting so many other tech companies in light of the global economic slowdown. Having tapped industry sources for a peek at the tone of Salesforce’s business, Keirstead writes, “We didn’t pick up any evidence that the tough macro backdrop has trickled down to CRM, and the consensus view was that business has ramped nicely since April.”

He notes that Microsoft’s customer relationship management product, Dynamics, is showing up in the small-business end of the marketplace, though it’s seen as “short on user interface and features.”

And even though there was little sign of any large deals closing, Keirstead writes that the chance of Salesforce ending the quarter with billings up by about 30 percent is “promising.”

Another good indicator: The results of German software giant SAP, a key Salesforce rival, which on Tuesday reported solid numbers that defied the economic conventional wisdom.

For the record, the consensus view of Wall Street analysts forecasts Salesforce to report sales of $728 million and per-share earnings of 39 cents on a non-GAAP basis this quarter. One other highlight of the quarter’s results is that it will be the first earnings report since Salesforce reached a deal to acquire Buddy Media for almost $700 milion.

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle