- Business Insider/Michael Seto
While Salesforce has been pounding its chest to try and convince regulators to intervene in Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, Microsoft has been fighting back.
The latest lob is from Peggy Johnson, Microsoft’s executive vice president who handles partnerships and acquisitions.
Speaking at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle, Johnson was asked about the situation between the two companies.
She noted that even though they famously buried some the hatchet partway in 2014 by agreeing to make some of their products work together, “we never said we weren’t going to continue to compete.”
While Johnson didn’t say so, the possibility of the two companies being in full cooperation pretty much died when Microsoft’s attempt to buy Salesforce died. The two were reportedly in talks in 2015 but the deal fell apart when they couldn’t agree on a price. Microsoft has never formally acknowledged that such talks took place, but if they did, Johnson would have been in the middle of them.
Since then, the two companies have sharpened their knives again.
Microsoft has for years offered products that compete head on with Salesforce’s bread-and-butter product, customers relationship management (CRM) software. CRM is used by salespeople to track prospects and interactions with customers.
Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn, snatched out of Benioff’s hands, was a major score for Microsoft’s CRM product. LinkedIn is a critical tool for many salespeople, helping them find prospects and do cold calling. Benioff is concerned that once Microsoft owns LinkedIn, and integrates LinkedIn data into its CRM product, it will also lock out other CRM tools, namely Salesforce’s, from accessing LinkedIn’s data. That would be a huge blow to Salesforce.
Microsoft’s hasn’t said it’s going to do that, but last week, Microsoft’s chief legal officer Brad Smith did tell Business Insider in an emailed statement that it plans to spark a price war with Salesforce.