Microsoft sues Salesforce.com. SaaS industry in danger
May 21, 2010 | Author: Sandeep Sharma
This week, Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Salesforce, blaming the SaaS company in violating 9 patents. These patents are not about CRM functionality (it would be strange, because Salesforce CRM appeared earlier than Microsoft CRM was developed), but about basic software technologies. For example, here is the technology of displaying web-page with embedded menu: "A request for a web page is received from a web browser In response to the request, a web page and an applet associated with the web page are packaged for transmission to the web browser. The web page and the applet are then transmitted to and downloaded by the web browser. When the web page is displayed and the applet is executed by the web browser, the applet creates and manages an embedded menu in the displayed web page under control of the applet . This embedded menu provides a user of the web browser with a plurality of links through one action in the displayed web page." Perhaps having this patent, Microsoft could close any SaaS vendor, but they have chosen Salesforce, their main competitor on CRM market.
Interestingly, the Zoho CEO, Sridhar Wembach, who has many reasons not to love Salesforce, supported Salesforce in Zoho blog. He says, "With this action, Microsoft has crossed an important line. I used to respect Microsoft. Today, they lost my respect as a competitor. Oh, yes, they may win or they may lose in court. But they know in their heart of hearts that what they are doing is wrong. Ultimately it is a question of self-respect as a software developer; I assume Bill Gates respected himself enough not to take this path, but I understand times have changed at Microsoft. We have had our disagreements with Salesforce, but today we are all Salesforce. Mr. Benioff I hope you win this, for the sake of all of us in this industry. We are all Salesforce today. "
An interesting post appeared also in 37Signals' blog: "Big companies where both sides have huge patent inventories might have fun with this sort of sue and counter-sue, but when the titans reach outside of their country club gardens to pick on someone a speck of their size, it’s truly disgusting". And the post ends with "Fucking patent trolls. Fucking Microsoft. What a sad day".
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