As one of the founding members of Salesforce in the UK, a former senior executive at Oracle, and a director at Skype during the Microsoft takeover, it's fair to say Martin Moran knows a thing or two about the IT industry.
So it's interesting when Moran tells V3 that although he's not Microsoft's biggest fan (he left Skype as soon as the $8.5bn acquisition occurred), he has faith in its ability to compete in the enterprise collaboration market against established players like Salesforce and smaller start-ups like Huddle.
Many analysts and industry commentators have said otherwise, arguing the Redmond giant is not nimble, quick or even savvy enough to compete in the social networking space.
Microsoft entered the collaboration market with SharePoint, a product that lacks the essence of what enterprise social networking is about - the reason why it bought Skype and on Monday confirmed its $1.2bn acquisition of Yammer.
"Microsoft is still working out how to do this stuff. Microsoft is always late to the party but then they're successful. It all comes down to how deep their pockets are and Microsoft's pockets are pretty deep," says Moran.
Microsoft's collaboration proposition revolves around Skype, the Yammer acquisition and Lync, but not SharePoint, Moran believes.
"I just don't think SharePoint is part of that proposition. Microsoft has all the bits to make the [collaboration] offering work, but the company is slow. They don't tend to move fast," he adds.
The challenge when it comes to Skype, he says, is how Microsoft plans to monetise the free community.
"There's a possibility they will offer a 'freemium' model and use Skype as a marketing engine, but I believe Microsoft will figure this out. It will certainly be interesting to see how [Microsoft] leverage it into their business portfolio," says Moran.
Before taking up the EMEA regional business director role at Skype, Moran was at Salesforce for 10 years, holding a number of senior executive positions, including senior vice president.
He was there when the firm based its UK operations in Dublin with only four staff. Moran remains close to the firm's chief executive Marc Benioff, describing him as a "dear friend".
"There's two sides to Marc: there's the public persona, which of course you know all about, and then there's the Marc who is a kind, generous, loyal individual," said Moran.
So, what did Benioff say when he heard Microsoft was buying Skype and would be competing with Salesforce in the collaboration market?
Moran admitted he did speak with Benioff at the time. "But I'll keep that [phone call] quiet," he adds.
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