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CRM Software Forecast

We don't claim to have a crystal ball, but we do enjoy speculating the future of the SAAS CRM software industry.
We also have the historical lessons learned from the prior host-based and client/server industry evolutions and
suspect that many of those observations and lessons will be repeated in this newest platform and delivery model.

The current Leader Board vendors were not actually the original CRM SaaS vendors. However, they did emerge
early, designed their solutions purely for SaaS and are now left as the strongest still standing.

Who's the next CRM software Leader Board member? Frankly we're not sure. While we've got contenders on our
radar, they are not advancing their solutions, growing their companies or acquiring market share nearly as fast
as the current Leader Board CRM vendors. That leaves us to speculate how the current market leaders will jockey
for re-positioning and how the CRM software market will consolidate.

According to the 2007 IDC Predictions Team, Salesforce.com will be acquired by a large player such as IBM, SAP, Oracle or Microsoft struggling to make it in the SaaS market or by a heavy hitter B2C (business to consumer) player such as Yahoo, Google or AOL trying to scale up to an enterprise level (see CIO-weblog.com article titled "salesforce.com will be acquired in 2007"). At the other end of the Salesforce.com speculation is CRM industry heavyweight Bob Thompson (CEO of CustomerThink and President of CRMguru) who argues that Salesforce.com's limited SFA delivery, arrogant culture, high customer churn will prevent the vendor from being the long term strategic winner (see CRMguru.com article titled "Forget Benioff's Hype: Five Problems Will Thwart Salesforce.com's Rise in On-Demand CRM").

While both of the Salesforce.com predictions are within reason, our own speculation finds it more likely that Oracle On Demand gets spun off from Oracle, RightNow gets acquired by the likes of CA or Oracle and Aplicor get acquired by a Microsoft, Infor or an on-premise business systems company who missed the SaaS boat. The Customer Relationship Management software market seldom stands still.

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