Siebel, square off in hosted CRM

Culture's Marc Benioff wants to put rival Siebel Systems out of business. No surprise there. But have you heard about Siebel's plans in the software-as-a-service area?

Bruce Cleveland, a Siebel executive who once worked with Benioff at Oracle, tells ZDNet's Dan Farber that the company intends to make every product in its lineup deliverable as a service.

That's one way to catch up with rivals. "We would be dead if we had not responded, but we decided to put millions into [on demand applications] and dedicated a division to build and deliver our products in this way. The drama around it is: did Siebel respond early enough? And the coming quarter will tell," Cleveland says.

As for Siebel's chances, Farber writes: "Siebel's...vertical applications deliver a good value proposition to customers, but without a focus on becoming a platform and empowering a developer community to augment and supplement what it delivers to the customers, Siebel could end up as the next Netscape. "

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