Big Idea

A whole new game

What makes software applications company Zoho Corp a challenger to Google, Microsoft and Salesforce?

RA Chandroo

In 2007, Marc Benioff, CEO of met Sridhar Vembu, founder of California-based Zoho Corp, which also has an office in Chennai, with an offer to buy him out. “He said, ‘Google is going to crush you guys with their Office suite. We can help you,’” says Vembu, recollecting the meeting. “This reminded me of the story where a bear chases two friends. One friend tells another, ‘We can’t outrun the bear’. The other one immediately says, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you’. Similarly, with Google chasing me, I thought I don’t have to outrun Google, I just have to stay ahead of Salesforce.”