SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Web-based software maker Salesforce.com Inc’s Chief Executive Marc Benioff unveiled a slew of social networking tools and said he was inspired by recent revolutions in Egypt and Libya.
Benioff said Salesforce.com was beefing up its existing Chatter social enterprise services to allow deeper interaction between people who do business together after Facebook and Twitter were widely used in the overthrow of dictators in Egypt and Libya.
“There were no signs that said ‘thank you Microsoft’, there were no signs that said ‘thank you IBM,’ Benioff said as he showed slides of Arab protesters during his keynote speech at Salesforce.com’s annual convention in San Francisco.
“No. Look at this: ‘thank you Facebook’, in all these different languages, in all these different cultures.”
Salesforce.com has become a darling among investors who see it as blessed with Silicon Valley’s holy trinity of social media, cloud computing and mobile devices. Its stock trades at a massive 77 times expected annual earnings and was up 3.38 percent on Wednesday.
Pacing an auditorium floor and shaking hands with members of an enthralled audience, Benioff also showed off software tools to help Salesforce.com’s customers use its services more easily on Apple’s iPad and other mobile gadgets.
“Salesforce.com is rapidly becoming a social enterprise,” he said. “Smartphones and tablets are taking over. We recognize that.”
The new social networking tools will make it easier to learn about customers by tracking and analyzing their activities on Facebook and Twitter. It will also let customers and suppliers create social media networks where their employees can collaborate.
Rock legend Neil Young and rapper MC Hammer both appeared with Benioff at the event and said they were using Salesforce.com’s social networking tools in their businesses.
Fueling hopes that cloud computing companies may avoid getting caught up in a possible slowdown in tech spending, Salesforce.com this month raised its full-year revenue outlook.
Reporting by Noel Randewich
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