Do any of you remember the popular teenie bopper show from the early 1990s, Saved By the Bell? It was like a pre-teen version of Beverly Hills 90210. The show was so popular they had to do Saved By the Bell - The College Years when the kids grew up. Characters like Slater, Kelly Kapowski, Lisa Turtle and the lovable Screech made it must-see tv for adolescents everywhere. But the leader of the pack was Zack, whose wise guy antics and sharp tongue always landed hin in Mr. Belding's (the principal) office. Miraculously by the end of each episode, Zack always found a way to charm Mr. Belding into letting him off with "a stern warning".
Needless to say when I came accross a CNET interview of NetSuite's CEO Zach Nelson, I wondered if a new take on the show was starting up. (Why not? There are four Law & Order's and three CSIs.) The title of the article is "NetSuite's CEO chides slow Microsoft", and although the names are spelled slightly different, it definitely seemed like Zach was channeling Zack. In short, he doesn't seemed to be worried about competing with the world's largest software company, when it comes to CRM. He goes on to say Microsoft's money won't help them in this space because the leading On Demand vendors (NetSuite, Salesforce.com and Right Now) won't be inclined to sell to them. And if Microsoft will have to build, Nelson says he will probably be retired before they will be able to compete with the "big three" of On Demand.
Zach doesn't stop there. He goes on to compliment Siebel for "getting alot of things right", before giving them a back handed slap by saying they "built a giant hairball of a product." Ouch! But the funniest quip was saved for SAP, saying he heard "mumblings" of a product coming, before saying "it could just be a case of them putting lipstick on a pig". Please Zach, don't hurt 'em! (No more MC Hammer references from this point forward...I promise)
Now I don't know Zach Nelson but I can just imagine how much fun it would have been sitting beside him in class. I hear he's a good guy and I know NetSuite has a very good CRM offering. And Netsuite was there at the beginning of the current On Demand movement and knows how long and hard the fight has been. But he isn't pulling any punches. I guess that's not too surprising considering he graduated from Oracle University, studying at the right hand of LE (if Terrell Owens can go by TO, why can't Larry Ellison be LE?). Remember Larry did have a book written about him where he was compared to God. All joking aside, the last time I remember somebody dismissing Microsoft so impudently was Marc Andressen and Netscape, and that didn't work to well for them. Just when everyone thought Microsoft had missed the boat on the Internet they turned the tables with a speed no huge corporation had ever done.... before or since. I wonder if Zach would get off with a stern warning this time if he gets called into Mr. Gates, uh, Mr. Belding's office this time? It looks like the fun and intrigue is back in the CRM industry.