Salesforce wants EU regulators to take a good hard look at Microsoft’s $26bn purchase of LinkedIn, claiming it’s the death knell for competition.
When Microsoft snapped up LinkedIn over the summer, everything about the deal seemed surprising, especially the $26bn price.
With 433m members, growing at a healthy 9pc annually, LinkedIn’s highly tailored user base was obviously attractive, but why Microsoft?
Salesforce clearly thought – and still thinks – the same. Interested in snapping up the professional networking company, Salesforce has asked EU regulators to investigate antitrust issues related to the deal.
EU suits will be doing just that as a matter of course, with Microsoft seeking such approval “in the coming week”, according to Reuters.
Although, Salesforce wants the investigation to run a little deeper.
“By gaining ownership of LinkedIn’s unique data set of over 450m 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 Burke Norton, Salesforce’s chief legal officer.
Saying the deal “raises significant antitrust and data privacy issues”, Norton wants the whole affair to be “fully scrutinised”.
As we wrote at the time of the deal, the collision of enterprise software and social media springing out a new generation of hot tech companies like Slack, Wrike and Trello – as well as Microsoft’s acquisition of Sunrise and Wunderlist – means Microsoft’s desire to be the go-to location for all things productivity makes sense.
And it’s not taking Salesforce’s complaints lying down, either.
“Salesforce may not be aware, but the deal has already been cleared to close in the US, Canada, and Brazil,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer.
“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.”