Microsoft Sues Salesforce.com Claiming Patent Infringement

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-05-18 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Microsoft files suit against Salesforce.com over alleged patent infringement.

Microsoft has filed suit against Salesforce.com, alleging patent infringement.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, contends that Salesforce.com has infringed on nine Microsoft patents in pushing its SAAS (software as a service) CRM to customers.

Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing, issued the following statement:

"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."

In short, Salesforce.com, the company with the tagline "No Software," has evoked the wrath of the world's largest software company. The battle between on-premises and cloud-based software has left the marketplace and entered the courts as adoption of the cloud model continues to take off. Microsoft offers its own cloud solutions, such as its xRM platform, as it continues to provide on-premises software and encourage customers to run hybrid environments.

A spokesperson for Salesfore.com said the company had no comment on the lawsuit.

Microsoft is calling for relief in the way of treble damages and injunctions against Salesforce.com for the solutions that allegedly infringe on Microsoft patents.

The Microsoft patents in the lawsuit cover issues such as, "Method and system for mapping between logical data and physical data," "System and method for providing and displaying a Web page having an embedded menu," "Method and system for stacking tool bars in a computer display" and "Automated Website creation using template-driven generation of active server page applications."

Microsoft and Salesforce.com compete in the cloud-based CRM space and also have an emerging competition for the hearts and minds of developers in that space. While Microsoft may have a leg up with developers building .NET-based applications, Salesforce.com, particularly through its recent partnership with VMware, has a strong position with enterprise Java developers based on its new connection with the SpringSource Spring Framework.

At the end of April, Salesforce.com and VMware announced VMforce, a new cloud environment that will provide an open path to the cloud for 6 million enterprise Java developers, including the 2 million-member Spring community.

According to Salesforce.com's Website, the company's products and services include:

"??Ç   The Sales Cloud, for sales force automation and contact management

??Ç   The Service Cloud, for customer service and support solutions

??Ç   Chatter, for social collaboration

??Ç   The Force.com platform, for custom application development

??Ç   The AppExchange, the world's leading marketplace for enterprise cloud computing applications"

Also according to the Salesforce.com Website, as of Jan. 31, "Salesforce.com manages customer information for approximately 72,500 customers, including Allianz Commercial, Dell, Japan Post, Kaiser Permanente, KONE and SunTrust Banks."

 
 
 
 
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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