Earlier today and as expected, the European Union greenlit Microsoft’s LinkedIn acquisition. However, Salesforce is continuing to put pressure on the deal. The customer relationship management (CRM) company is at loggerheads with Microsoft over the LinkedIn purchase. With key regulatory approval now achieved, Salesforce is warning regulators to watch Microsoft closely.
The company has already warned that with LinkedIn, Microsoft has access to a unique database of 400 million professionals. Salesforce has previously raised concerns about the way Microsoft will use this data. The company is concerned the data will be closed off to competitors.
Microsoft has denied Salesforce’s claims and insisted the data will remain open. While the European Union was concerned about the LinkedIn acquisition, it did not raise issue over data. Instead, regulators sought concessions from Microsoft before allowing the deal to go ahead in Europe. Other nations like the US, Canada, and Brazil had already greenlit the purchase.
Speaking to Business Insider, Salesforce is unconvinced by Microsoft’s assertions of fair play over data. The company says regulators need to keep a close watch of the company to ensure competition is not stifled:
“Given Microsoft’s history and existing monopolies, it will be necessary for antitrust enforcement agencies to be vigilant to ensure that Microsoft operates in a manner that promotes competition, rather than stifles it. As AI, machine learning and other technologies continue to advance, questions around access to critical datasets will only become more important and Salesforce will continue to share its views with regulators and policymakers around the world about the ways in which access to data is emerging as a key issue in competition policy.”
Salesforce vs. Microsoft
Before the LinkedIn acquisition, the two companies were getting along famously. Numerous collaborations had made many forget Salesforce and Microsoft were actually CRM rivals. Salesforce adopted Microsoft’s services for its own software. For example, the SalesForce1 Windows 10 app supports Continuum and the company also adopted Outlook for its email management.
However, since the deal, Microsoft managed to usurp Salesforce as the CRM market leader. Moreover, the two companies were bidding rivals over LinkedIn.
Microsoft has pointed out that Salesforce would have bought LinkedIn too. Would the company have sought to stifle competition and limit data in the same way if accuses Microsoft of wanting too? Despite Microsoft’s long-standing desire to buy LinkedIn, Salesforce’s presence in the process led to the company paying over $26.5 billion for the enterprise-focused social network.