The weather might be arctic and the recession biting but Salesforce.com has a warm glow about it after the software-as-a-service pioneer said revenues were up 43 per cent year on year for its third quarter.

Hitting $276m beat analyst estimates and was a coup for Salesforce in a few ways. Firstly, it cemented ambitions to be a $1bn annual revenue company this year, and the San Francisco-based firm will sail by that totemic figure next year – it now expects about $1.35bn for fiscal 2010. Second, that rate of growth is mightily impressive for a company that floated as far back as 2004. Third, coming on the heels of modest numbers from traditional software behemoths, it confirms the impression that on-demand companies might stand to benefit from the bleak economic outlook that has made capex a toxic prospect for most companies.

As CEO Marc Benioff said, "In times like these, our value proposition of low start up cost, low risk, and fast results is resonating like never before. In the third quarter, we continued to add customers at the same record level we did last quarter, at a time when the traditional enterprise software world was retrenching."

Watch out for more successes among on-demand firms as buying decisions get bent out of shape by the financial breakdown.

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