First Annual Enterprise Software Awards: Mediocrity, Meltdowns and More

The first-ever show honored ineptitude, arrogance and near-smackdowns in the enterprise software.

The first-annual Enterprise Software Unplugged Awards were recently held at the Palace Hotel Ballroom, honoring software mediocrity, customer negligence and business ineptitude in the enterprise software industry.

The Award is known as the "ESUie" (pronounced s - you - ee), and winners receive the prestigious ESUie statue—a tin replica of a software installation CD. No video exists of the event, but here's a transcript of the 2009 ESUie Awards Ceremony:

Master of Ceremonies Tom Bergeron, host of "America's Funniest Home Videos": "Good evening, everyone. Welcome to the first-annual ESUie Awards Show, where we will look back and honor the highlights and lowlights in the enterprise software industry!"

"It's great to see so many Silicon Valley celebrities and cut-throat competitors all under the same roof. We've got Oracle's Larry Ellison seated right over there, and there's SAP's Leo Apotheker. Of course, there's Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com, and Microsoft's Steve Ballmer."

"Boy, if it gets any chillier in here, we're going to have to turn the heat on!" [Audience laughs politely] "There's so much animosity in the audience, I hope someone frisked these guys before the show for any concealed weapons!" [A couple of chuckles] "I mean, geez. The last time I saw this many icy stares, I was in the middle of my second divorce."

"OK, folks. Let's get right to the Awards!"

The Award for The Most Hypocritical Marketing Campaign goes to...SAP! In late 2008, right after SAP told its own employees to "not order any new IT equipment at this time," the German software giant launched a marketing offensive, reminding its current and would-be customers that a recessionary environment is when "great companies invest in SAP software to beat the competition!"

M.C.: "Great stuff! Accepting on behalf of SAP is CEO Leo Apotheker, who, I should point out, speaks five languages fluently."

Apotheker: "Ich hasse Dich."

M.C.: "What does that mean?"

Apotheker: "It's German for 'I hate you.'"

M.C.: "Thank you! Leo Apotheker, everyone!"

The Award for "The Most Half-Hearted Attempt at Helping Customers During a Recession" goes to...Oracle! When SAP came to its senses in spring 2009 and "modified" the new pricing program for SAP Enterprise Support (delaying much-talked-about maintenance price increases), Oracle responded to its customers recessionary and budgetary woes by announcing a very small and short-term pricing discount for enterprise software customers sticking with aging versions of Oracle applications (JDE, E-Business, PeopleSoft). Oracle Corporation: We feel your pain!

M.C.: "Accepting on behalf of Oracle is CEO Larry Ellison."

Ellison: "I also hate you and everyone else here. I'm going to go fly my jet plane."

M.C.: "He's really not leaving, folks. Thanks, Larry!"

The "Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree" Award goes to...Marc Benioff, of Salesforce.com! Benioff's use of tactics and hyperbole that he learned from his former boss, Larry Ellison, has been legendary during the past year. Benioff said that software-as-a-service models, like Salesforce.com's CRM line, couldn't even be compared to "mature, dying models like Oracle and SAP,which are maybe already dead." Benioff also relished the spotlight when he announced that his company was "proud to be the first billion-dollar cloud computing company." Dropping even more truth bombs, Benioff added: "At a time when capital is precious, big-ticket software purchases just don't make sense."

M.C.: "Ladies and gentlemen, Marc Benioff!"

Benioff: "Oracle and SAP will be out of business by the end of 2010!"

M.C.: "Great stuff, Marc!"

The "Thank You for All the Billable Hours" Award, Sponsored by the American Bar Association, goes to...Oracle and SAP! The TomorrowNow-SAP-Oracle legal saga dragged on into 2009, with no end data in sight and many critical questions have yet to be resolved about third-party maintenance. Representatives of law firms on both sides couldn't be with us tonight to present the award because they're all at their vacation homes in Monaco.

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