Salesforce.com is the world’s fastest growing software vendor that makes annual revenue over $3 billion with a growth rate of 33.3 per cent between 2012 and 2013, according to Stamford, Ct.-based analyst firm Gartner Inc.

The cloud software firm known for its customer relationship management (CRM) and other recent additions specifically addressing line of business markets, such as the Marketing Cloud and Work.com, rose two spots in the overall rankings to make its way into the top 10 software vendors by revenue earned. Salesforce.com is the only new addition to the top 10 rankings this year, with the other nine top vendors either holding steady or moving up and down within the top 10.

It’s the first time a purely cloud vendor has cracked the top 10, according to Gartner. The other vendors come from a legacy of selling software in a box (and installed on premises) and now sell a mix of that model of software and cloud services. CRM is the fastest growing software “macro market” out of 22 categories that Gartner tracks.

“It’s a sea change report,” says Joanne Correia, vice-president of software markets, Gartner Inc. It’s the first time that Microsoft Corp. and IBM didn’t take the top two spots, with IBM slipping to third as its revenue increased by 1.4 per cent.

Oracle Corp. which is moving into the number two position for the first time. Gartner credits trends towards business investment in big data, analytics, and cloud applications for Oracle’s 3.4 per cent rise. (In terms actual revenue increase, both Oracle and Salesforce.com increased by $900 million.)

“They [Oracle] have turned the corner on their cloud-based sales,” Correia says. “It takes a few years after an acquisition to onboard your new customers earned through an acquisition. They’ve passed that chasm.”

Adobe Inc. is the vendor that dropped to 11th spot. With a drop in revenue of 10.2% or $400 million. The vendor known for creative industry mainstays like Photoshop and Illustrator has been transitioning its model to cloud-based subscribe one as well.

“The vast majority of on premises vendors are looking for a way for their customers to buy via subscription, whether they’re selling in the cloud or letting their customers pay for a product over a few months,” Correia says. “That’s the way customers want to buy.”

If Adobe and IBM get their cloud delivery models working well and sales channels in the groove, they could reclaim their spots next year, Correia says.

Ranking by total revenue 

Gartner’s March 31, 2014 report on the top 10 software vendors by revenue only counts revenue earned through software sales during the 2012-2013 year. You won’t see companies like Google or Facebook on this list because they sell ads, not software.

  1. Microsoft $65.7 billion
  2. Oracle $29.6 billion
  3. IBM $29.1 billion
  4. SAP $18.5 billion
  5. Symantec $6.4 billion
  6. EMC $5.6 billion
  7. HP $4.9 billion
  8. VMware $4.8 billion
  9. CA Technologies $4.2 billion
  10. Salesforce.com $3.8 billion
  11. Adobe

Ranking by growth rate

If you re-order Gartner’s top 10 list in priority of year-over-year growth rate instead of by total revenue, here’s what it looks like.

  1.  Salesforce.com 33.3%
  2. VMware 14.1%
  3. SAP 9.5%
  4. Microsoft 6.0%
  5. EMC 4.9%
  6. Oracle 3.4%
  7. IBM 1.4%
  8. Symantec -0.8%
  9. CA Technologies -2.6%
  10. HP -2.7%
  11. Adobe -10.2%
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  • Kareemullah Shareef

    What about Apple ;)