UPDATED 11:01 EST / MARCH 30 2010

Marc Benioff Sees The Future – It’s Cloud Highlighted By The IPad

Marc Benioff sees the future and it’s the IPad powered by the cloud.  Marc is pushing all time hype into the IPad mainly because the IPad is nothing more than a lightning rod for this new distributed computing model called cloud.  He’s right about that for sure – I mean cloud.

Is the future “the Cloud highlighed by the iPad or is it the “iPad highlighted by Cloud”. It’s the classic chicken and the egg.

As he drinks the cool aid, let me explain what he really means.  Marc is saying that the real success of the iPad is not what it will do in 12 months of sales but instead what it means long term.  It’s entire existance will be cloud based.  Sure short term IPad has tons of issues: 3rd device, not mulituser, no camera, too big to carry when I can just get a Macbook Air, and many more reasons.  This means that the IPad will be a classic early adopter product but will take 2 years to cross over to the mainstream.

Marc is excited and I am as well, but don’t confuse short term (12-14 month) IPad success with medium to long term (15-36 month) success.

Here is some of my favorite comments from his post.

I have seen the future. The future is not a Mac, or even a PC. Its father created a lot of the computers I’ve loved: Apple IIe, Mac, and iPhone. There have been others I have loved, even some PCs and yes, my Blackberry, but none of that matters anymore. Looking ahead, I am energized, a door is opening, and we are all going to walk through it. We’ll soon enter a new world of computing accelerated once again by the industry’s creator Steve Jobs, and amplified by someone conceived after the PC, Mark Zuckerberg.

The future of our industry now looks totally different than the past. It looks like a sheet of paper, and it’s called the iPad.  It’s not about typing or clicking; it’s about touching. It’s not about text, or even animation, it’s about video. It’s not about a local disk, or even a desktop, it’s about the cloud. It’s not about pulling information; it’s about push. It’s not about repurposing old software, it’s about writing everything from scratch (because you want to take advantage of the awesome potential of the new computers and the new cloud—and because you have to reach this pinnacle). Finally, the industry is fun again.

We are moving from Cloud 1 to Cloud 2, and the iPad is the accelerator.  The next generation is here. The iPad that shows us what now is really possible—and that we all need to go faster.

Cloud 1 ————————————->Cloud 2

Location Unknown————————->Location Known
Desktop/notebook————————->Smart phone/Tablet
Windows/Mac——————————>Cocoa/HTML 5

What’s most exciting is that this fundamental transformation—cloud + social + iPad—will inspire a new generation of wildly innovative new apps that will change entire industries. Take health. We have all been waiting for the health application that will revolutionize how we share and communicate with our doctors, and help us make better health care decisions.

With ObamaCare there is no killer app to accelerate through the new reimbursement program. The shift ignited by the iPad will allow the proliferation of these new missing apps, and automate the industries and professionals left behind by the last generation of technology. Now, no industry will be left behind.

It’s (the iPad) a more productive, easier, and fun way to work and live. The iPad shows us the old world is no longer good enough. We’ll need new software with a new UI.

Our industry has gone through many shifts, but ultimately, the big ones have always been about software, not hardware. Now, we are seeing a simultaneous software and hardware revolution. The key apps we use in productivity, collaboration, communication, entertainment, education, and even health, will all be rewritten to take advantage of the new capabilities. T

This will result in a new generation that looks more like Facebook on the iPad than Yahoo on the PC. Our industry is changing. We all need to step up to meet this change head-on or we will leave an incredible opportunity behind.

Bravo Marc. Don’t count out the netbook market which will want to have an answer to the iPad.

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