Software giant Microsoft is suing software-as-a-service CRM player Salesforce.com for allegedly infringing nine of its patents in what could be seen a classic struggle between the traditional software world and the new Web 2.0 players.
The move is unusual insofar as this is the fourth time Microsoft has sued another company for patent infringement.
Salesforce.com is positioning itself to be the leading business software vendor in the cloud computing space.
In the meantime, Microsoft is consolidating its position as a business software leader, unveiling its own vision of where the US$3.3 trn cloud is headed in terms of software-plus-services and at the same time fending off attacks on its market position by Google and Salesforce.com.
The alleged patent infringements include the method and system for mapping between logical data and physical data, the method for providing and displaying a web page and having an embedded menu, aggregation of system settings into objects and timing and velocity control for displaying graphical information.
According to a statement from Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice-president and deputing general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft: “Microsoft has filed an action today, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, against Salesforce.com for infringement of nine Microsoft patents by their CRM product.
“Microsoft has been a leader and innovator in the software industry for decades and continues to invest billions of dollars each year in bringing great software products and services to market.
“We have a responsibility to our customers, partners and shareholders to safeguard that investment, and therefore cannot stand idly by when others infringe our IP rights.”
By John Kennedy
Photos: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (above) is going head to head with software-on-demand evangelist Marc Benioff (below) of Salesforce.com