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Salesforce still going after LinkedIn, urges EU to investigate antitrust issues with its acquisition

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Salesforce, the largest CRM software company, which was once the forerunner in LinkedIn’s acquisition, is still glum and hasn’t healed from losing the bid to Microsoft. The Redmond giant had swooped in to pick the enterprise social network for a whopping $26.2 billion, but Salesforce is now trying to convince the EU(and U.S) to block the deal.

The European Union has recently taken measures to exercise stringent control over enterprises, and has even quoted that they’ll directly look into a company to see if their use of data hurts the competition or not. Salesforce, who is already hurting, is using the same to argue that the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal would hurt competition by giving Redmond access to a vast pool of user data.

Salesforce’s Chief Legal Officer Burke Norton adds that Microsoft owning LinkedIn would give them unfair advantage over competetive rivals, whom they’ll block access to company data. This acqusition, he believes, is anticompetetive and raises ‘data-privacy’ issues that Salesforce thinks regualtory bodies should scrutinize.

Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of LinkedIn threatens the future of innovation and competition. 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,

said Norton in a statement on Thursday.

Microsoft didn’t sit quietly after the aforementioned antitrust allegations and fired back by adding that — it is Salesforce who dominates the customer relationship software market and not the other way round. And LinkedIn acquisition and its data can only help Microsoft fight the over-competitive Salesforce and capture a share of the CRM market. The company also goes on to add that the acquisition deal has already been passed regulatory proceedings in some countries.

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 continuing to work to bring price competition to a CRM market in which Salesforce is the dominant participant charging customers higher prices today,

said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer.

Salesforce can cry all it want for not being able to acquire the enterprise social network LinkedIn, but the pleas for an investigation into anti-trust issues of the deal wouldn’t yield any results. Due to the humongous amounts of data involved, European Union could surely take a deeper look into the deal but that would only lead to a minor delay in the acquisition. And as Rachel King from WSJ rightly points out,

Salesforce’s contention that Microsoft might deny competitors access to LinkedIn’s data would have applied equally to Salesforce if it had been successful in its effort to acquire the network.

But, the CRM leader is not taking a backseat and has now joined the race to acquire micro-blogging platform Twitter, which has yet again surfaced for sale on the market. Salesforce is competing with high-potential bidders including Google, Apple, Microsoft and even Disney. Last we heard, Twitter had been asking for almost $18 billion — which isn’t quite understandeable by possible bidders.

A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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