Salesforce moves to block Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn in European Union

Kip Kniskern

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When Microsoft announced its intentions to acquire LinkedIn back in xx, it won a bidding war with, purportedly winning the business focused social network even though Salesforce had a higher bid. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has been taking potshots at Microsoft ever since, up to and including yesterday where he fired off a couple of new tweets reacting to some statements Scott Guthrie made at a Deutsche Telekom conference.

Now today, according to PC World, Salesforce is pushing the European Union to block the acquisition:

Salesforce Chief Legal Officer Burke Norton will argue to the EU’s competition authority that Microsoft’s control of LinkedIn’s dataset following an acquisition would be anticompetitive.

“Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of LinkedIn threatens the future of innovation and competition,” Norton said in a statement on Thursday. “By gaining ownership of LinkedIn’s unique dataset of over 450 million professionals in more than 200 countries, Microsoft will be able to deny competitors access to that data, and in doing so obtain an unfair competitive advantage.”

In response, Microsoft President and General Counsel Brad Smith countered in a statement:

“Salesforce may not be aware, but the deal has already been cleared to close in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. We’re committed to continue working to bring price competition to a CRM market in which Salesforce is the dominant participant charging customers higher prices today.”

So, shots fired on both sides, once again, even though Salesforce and Microsoft also announced Skype for Salesforce yesterday, bringing Skype for Business directly into Salesforce.

It’s clear that with LinkedIn, and a new emphasis on Dynamics CRM, that Microsoft is taking aim at Salesforce, and Marc Benioff and his company aren’t about to sit still while that happens. If nothing else, this should be interesting!