Here's the part where I imagine Marc Benioff stepping in and saying, "I told you so." Salesforce continued down the software-less path with this week's reveal of a storage solution that's being touted as the next evolution of cloud computing. Meanwhile, researchers are doing what they can to prepare the world of business for a generation that's never not been connected, and companies like Skype are rolling with the punches by way of new Web-based solutions. 

Salesforce Challenges Oracle, Changes Future of the Cloud 

Salesforce's (news, site) provides a hardware and software-free database alternative for storing the next wave of enterprise apps. It's searchable, automatically scalable, totally open, and sky high.

As an answer to Exalogic, a.k.a. Oracle's US$ 1 million Dollar "cloud-in-a-box" hardware, operates under three core principals:

  • Any Platform: Accessible to developers on all platforms – cloud or on-premise – through standards-based API’s and protocols.
  • Any Language: Being open to any language is critical to supporting the innovation of the developer community.
  • Any Device: This one gives a hat tip to the growing popularity of mobile devices. Databases must be open to use from any and all of these clients in a clean, consistent and secure manner.

Check out our original coverage for some other nifty details. 

10-Year-Old Kids on Cloud Computing & Social Business

Evidently children can teach you a lot about cloud computing. Much like the old show Kids Say the Darndest Things, the video below illustrates the benefits of simplistic thinking by asking 10-year-olds to explain a concept that many adults find hard to grasp:

It's viral marketing, sure. But it's also a great eye-opener when it comes to simplification, and what you might want to think about not only when considering cloud computing, but the future of social business as well. After all, younger generations aren't far from entering the workforce, and these are going to be young adults who've never experienced a world without the Internet, without social networking, and without connectivity. That's bound to cause some big ripples across the business space, don't you think?

Jacob Morgan, principal at a social business consultancy called Chess Media Group, touches more on these future experts and how to adapt here

The Cloud Could Bring Europe 763bn Euros over Five Years

Rarely do we discuss such large figures on this site, but the statistics are in and they are huge: A recently released report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR ) states that Europe alone can gain 763 billion Euros in five years, if it rides the cloud.

That's over one trillion US Dollars. 

According to CEBR, the annual monetary benefit in the next 5 years for the 5 largest economies in Europe breaks down like this:

  • Germany - €49.6bn
  • France - €37.4bn
  • Italy - €35.1bn
  • Spain - €25.2bn
  • UK - €30.0bn

Adopting this level of cloud computing solutions could also potentially create 466,000 new jobs per year in these economies. Unfortunately, statics also say Europe isn't that big on cloud computing. We're not really sure why-- perhaps they haven't bothered to consider the ROI, or maybe they're just waiting to see what does and doesn't work for the US before making their move.  More on that here

Post Bullying, Salesforce Frees Up Chatter

Has Salesforce's (news, site) enterprise collaboration product not lived up to the adoption level CEO Marc Benioff hoped it would, or is the company just trying to compete with the likes of Yammer? In whatever case, the most basic features of Chatter — a.k.a "Facebook for the Enterprise" — are now free:

  • Profiles
  • Status Updates
  • Real-Time Feeds
  • File Sharing
  • Groups
  • Filters
  • Invitations
  • Chatter Mobile 

We suspect this has something to do with the wave of complaining that came when Salesforce first introduced the product at US$ 15 per user per month. For example, Kevin Spain, an Emergence Capital partner and investor in both Yammer and Salesforce, recently called on the CRM company to offer Chatter for free in order to successfully compete with Yammer.

Meanwhile, Yammer is beaming: “The fact that Salesforce has to copy Yammer even though it has 2,000 sales reps is like Goliath dropping his sword and armor and chasing after David with a sling-shot,” boasted David Sacks, CEO of Yammer. "Other people have tried to copy our model, but aren't showing similar growth. Salesforce may find that it's more difficult than it looks."

Skype Goes Beyond the Desktop, Heads for the Web

Recent rumors about Skype (news, site) suggest the popular VoIP company is gearing up to release some new Web-based products. 

The buzz began when several job postings on Skype’s website indicated the company was looking to build a team of cloud and web technology engineers. According to the postings, the team is being designed in order to build an infrastructure capable of supporting hundreds of millions of users, and a product which will deliver voice, video, chat and presence to the Internet.

Newer whispers say Skype is aiming to launch the service in the first quarter of 2011, with a high likelihood of integrations on multiple partner sites like LinkedIn.

A Web-based product makes a lot of sense for the company at this point. Add recent Facebook integrations to a product that could potentially become a part of, say, Microsoft's cloud offerings, and you've got a more-than-viable competitor for Google Voice