Microsoft’s Acquisition of LinkedIn Blocked by Salesforce

The HQ that would be owned by Microsoft , if Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn is successful

Earlier this year, Microsoft made a stunning statement that they intend to acquire LinkedIn. But Salesforce are now trying to block Microsoft’s Acquisition of LinkedIn.

If the deal will go through, Microsoft will have made its biggest acquisition in the company’s history. They were prepared to give $26.2 billion for the social media giant.

But Salesforce is concerned about what this deal could mean. Their Chief Legal Officer, Burke Norton, plans on explaining to the EU’s competition authority the deal would be anticompetitive.

Margarethe Vestager, EU competition chief stated that they will be looking into the matter back in January. She seemed concerned that about Microsoft’s use of the data they would acquire could be bad for competition. Salesforce seems to be echoing those concerns.

Norton stated that Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of LinkedIn threatens the future of innovation and competition”. He supported his statement by arguing that, if Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn would go through, they would also acquire data on some 450 million professionals from all over the world. Microsoft could deny access to this dataset. By baring other companies from using this information, the company would gain a large, and unfair advantage over its competition.

While Salesforce’s arguments do make sense, this is just the latest developed in the ongoing deterioration of the relationship between them and Microsoft. Salesforce had its eye on LinkedIn as well, and they’ve tried to outbid Microsoft several times. Unfortunately for them, Microsoft won in the end.

Since then, Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s CEO has been criticizing the deal. Microsoft President Brad Smith was quick to retaliate.

He argued that, on the one hand, the deal is already approved in the US, Canada and Brazil. On the other hand, he claimed that Microsoft is in fact only trying to bring some competition in the CRM market, which Salesforce currently dominates. They argue that currently Salesforce is charging their clients higher prices.

If the EU chooses to investigate Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn, this could be bad news, even if they don’t decide against it. An investigation of this scale could drag out the process of finalizing the deal at least several months. Both Microsoft and LinkedIn hoped they would be done by the end of the year.

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn Deals a Mighty Blow to Salesforce’s Ego

Gone are the days in which Salesforce and Microsoft teamed up to create a better integration of CRM tools in Office 356. At the time, many found the deal to be quite unlikely. After all, the two companies were rivals in the field. But the two managed to set aside their differences (or rather, their similarities) and go through with an epic agreement, that would benefit both companies.

Now, it seems both have went back to a bitter rivalry that has been developing for a long time. Because even at the time of that unprecedented deal, the two were not exactly friendly with each other. Even after the partnership, the two continued to put out similar, rival products. And they’ve been in a constant race to outdo each other when it came to acquiring new clients, and developing business opportunities.

The EU’s preliminary investigation takes about 25 days. After that, if it feels like it needs more time to reach a conclusion, it can extend the period of inquiry to four months. Either way, it seems Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn will not go through by the end of the year, as they would have wanted.

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