Salesforce has called on the European Commission to block Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn.
A widely circulated statement from Salesforce Chief Legal Officer Burke Norton says “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.”
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"Salesforce believes this raises significant antitrust and data privacy issues that need to be fully scrutinised by competition and data privacy authorities in the United States and in the European Union."
It's also not hard to see why Salesforce fears Microsoft owning LinkedIn: Oracle has a data-as-service service and third party data-harvesting outfits likeScott McNealy's Wayin already sell records on millions of people. LinkedIn will give Microsoft even more data and potentially enhance the potency of its CRM.
A bit of legal action is a relatively cheap way to damage Microsoft's ambitions. And Salesforce could not have chosen a better jurisdiction in which to complain: just yesterday the European commissioner for competition, Margrethe Vestager, delivered a speech titled Big Data and Competition.
Microsoft's retorted by pointing out the LinkedIn deal has already closed in some jurisdictions. ®