Bloomberg television has an interesting video up of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff who shares an anecdote on how Apple chairman Steve Jobs helped him out with his unique insights on Enterprise Software (!!):
He has probably given me more help and more advice than just about anybody. And when I get in trouble and I kinda get lost in my own vision, I’ve been fortunate to be able to go and see him and he’s been willing to show me the future a couple times.
He then goes on to explain how in 2003 Jobs praised Salesforce’s “fantastic enterprise application” and advised him to dream bigger and think about the wider “ecosystem”. Salesforce took it at face value and built an app store of sorts dubbed App Exchange. However, they loved the app store term so much that they bought a URL and trademarked it. Benioff was later in the audience when Jobs announced the App Store. Where more than a few sue-happy companies would see a lawsuit opportunity, Benioff went up to Jobs and said, “I’m gonna give you the trademark and the URL because of the help you gave me in 2003.”
This is particularly interesting in light of the recent controversy with Apple suing Amazon over the use of Appstore, which is the name of Amazon’s online application store for Android software. Could Benioff’s comment in this video be considered testimony in the ongoing litigation?
What we love about Steve Jobs advising Marc Benioff to build an end-to-end ecosystem to deliver enterprise apps to customers is a timeframe. Remember, this was happening back in 2003, when Apple was just a computer maker with a popular music player. The story highlights a far-reaching vision Jobs had in mind early on. The iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes and iCloud? All meticulously planned well in advance at least a decade ago. Jobs was instrumental in birthing the Apple ecosystem that today supports their famous vertical integration which marries pretty hardware to elegant software and integrated cloud services and curated content.