Companies such as Snyder's, as well as those in the midmarket, are certainly in the sweet spot for Force.com, said RedMonk's Cote.
"It seems to me that the real advantage of the platform as a service is ... in the midmarket," he said. "It's something they can afford to use. That's one of the more positive, exciting aspects of it. Hopefully, it opens up these features to a wider market of people."
In his presentation this week, Salesforce.com's Benioff recognized the possibilities of a platform such as Force.com not only for smaller businesses in the U.S., but also for companies in developing countries where building software-development infrastructure is cost-prohibitive.
Software development "has been expensive, complex and risky" and "does not serve emerging countries," he said. "Cloud computing offers a different choice."
Now for Salesforce.com, Google and others in the emerging market for cloud computing infrastructure, it remains to be seen how many businesses are willing to make that choice.