Salesforce Questions Microsoft-LinkedIn Europe Deal

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In June 2016, Microsoft purchased LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, outsmarting their business rival Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM). Having lost the LinkedIn bid, the company is now focusing to make a bid for Twitter. However, there too, Salesforce faces stiff competition from Microsoft, Google, and the Walt Disney Company.

The internet software company Salesforce has now raised concerns with the antitrust authorities in Europe about the LinkedIn takeover by Microsoft. The charge is that the proposed deal by Microsoft will not disallow businesses and people from accessing the huge data of LinkedIn.

Unfair Advantage to Microsoft?

The company further says that Microsoft will enjoy an unfair advantage if the deal eventually goes through because they will then combine the social network site’s data with its own software services. The potent combination will be difficult to beat.

Analysts are however saying that the Salesforce complaint has less to do with blocking the deal, and more about urging regulators to impose certain conditions. The company wants to force Microsoft from sharing the LinkedIn data. It seems Salesforce.com hasn’t yet given up hope of accessing the huge database of LinkedIn.

Both Microsoft and Salesforce wanted to purchase LinkedIn for its database. LinkedIn is used heavily in areas such as social selling. Sales people go through the LinkedIn profiles to identify prospects. Having purchased the company, Microsoft will now integrate this data into their customer relationship management software, which their sales people use. Salesforce wanted to integrate it with their CRM software. It will be a major blow to Salesforce if they cannot access this data.

The Software Maker Might Not Have It Their Way

Authorities in Europe might not give Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) a hearing. The antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, is known to be tough, so there may not be an investigation into the acquisition. Responding to a query, she said, “A company might even buy up a rival just to get hold of its data. We are therefore exploring whether we need to start looking at mergers with valuable data involved”. However, Margrethe did not name any company.

The European Commission has not commented on this matter.

Microsoft too hasn’t commented. However, Jennifer Crider, the company spokeswoman clarified that they have already received antitrust clearances from Canada and the US. Jennifer also revealed that the company is working with other authorities for a similar approval. Microsoft has not yet submitted the LinkedIn deal to the authorities in Europe. That is likely to happen in early November.