Ring, ring! Someone get the door, please? It's Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) calling. The biggest name in on-demand software is coming over to show off its latest batch of earnings news tomorrow afternoon.

After the news comes out, we'll have time a-plenty to dissect it. But in these few hours before we begin obsessing over Salesforce.com's short-term progress, let's take a moment to review what investors think about it as a long-term investment. Our tool in this endeavor: Motley Fool CAPS, where we poll more than 28,000 rated investors for their views on well over 4,000 companies, Salesforce.com among them. Here's what Fools have to say about the company.

Up or down?
Nearly 300 investors have submitted ratings on Salesforce.com. Their verdict: No soliciting.

Clear majorities among the CAPS population overall, and All-Star investors in particular, pan Salesforce.com. Among the general population, only 45% of investors think the stock will outperform the market. Our best investors think the worst of the stock -- with only 28% giving Salesforce.com the thumbs-up, and 72% giving it the ...

Ahem. Rather than finish that thought, let's just say Salesforce.com gets a mere one star out of five possible stars on CAPS.

Within the wide ocean of stocks that investors consider peers to Salesforce.com, the company sinks quickly to the bottom:

Internet Software, Services & Solutions Group

CAPS Rating





Allscripts Healthcare (NASDAQ:MDRX)


Digital River (NASDAQ:DRIV)


Openwave (NASDAQ:OPWV)






Wall Street vs. Main Street
Rarely do you see a divide between Main Street and Wall Street as wide as this one. Whereas the majority of lay investors hate the stock, the people who know investing best (or so they tell us) give Salesforce.com the thumbs up by a 2-to-1 margin. Eight of the dozen analysts we track on CAPS expect Salesforce.com to beat the S&P 500 going forward, just as it's beaten the averages by 22 percentage points over the last 52 weeks.

Bull pitch
Salesforce.com bulls love the company's "terrific revenue model" and praise its "90% customer satisfaction and retention," arguing that the firm is "starting to take a chunk out of the giants." Says one All-Star in particular: "This is the kind of company that represents what the industry of software should be in the next following years."

Bear pitch
In contrast, the bear thesis is quite simple. Salesforce.com's denigrators think the stock is just plain too expensive. One All-Star sums up his objections quite succinctly: "Good company, bad stock. 950 P/E ratio?!?!" (And if you think that's bad, better not look at what Yahoo! Finance says it's trading for now. Unless my eyes betray me, the trailing P/E is now up to 10,787.50.) Little wonder that another All-Star calls this "An absurdly high PE," while also musing that "margins aren't impressive." Indeed, the 0.1% net margin looks positively Enron-ish.

Who said that?
To learn the identities of the wise Fools who penned these thoughts, and explore the plethora of additional financial data we've put together on the company, just click here.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 999 out of nearly 29,000 raters. Openwave is a Rule Breakers recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.