Microsoft Ups Ante In Salesforce Suit, Accuses Former Manager Of Information Theft
The arena of cloud computing is all set for a bloody battle between two combative gladiators as Microsoft upped the ante in its ongoing suit against Salesforce.com by accusing former Microsoft manager Matt Miszewski of taking 25,000 pages of confidential information to its competitor.
This case had its origins in Mr. Miszewski’s move to Saleforce.com on 18 January, 2011 as senior vice president for global public sales, from his earlier position at Microsoft dealing with government contracts. As former Chief Information Officer of the state of Wisconsin, he had the government contacts that Microsoft found so valuable, and consequently, sued to block his move to the competition.
Now, the case has got uglier with Microsoft filing a motion at Washington state’s King County Superior Court that Matt Miszewski had lied about retaining “a large trove of materials – 600 megabytes of information comprising over 900 separate files (estimated at 25,000 pages)” of proprietary Microsoft information on his personal computer. Microsoft says that this includes confidential information about the company’s sales strategies to governments and its cloud computing plans.
Microsoft claims Miszewski lied when he told the company that he took only personal items with him after resigning on 31 December, 2010. But under rules of the discovery process, Miszewski later produced the document cache which he had stored on his personal computer.
The motion states that this information “would be highly valuable to Microsoft’s competitors, including Salesforce.com, both in terms of capitalizing on Microsoft’s efforts to prepare these materials, as well as revealing in detail Microsoft’s own competitive strategies.” Microsoft said that Miszewski “takes his confidentiality obligations far too lightly,” and his employment by Salesforce.com threatens Microsoft with “actual and substantial injury.”
Microsoft and Salesforce.com have never been on the best of terms. Microsoft’s Dynamics Online is in direct competition with Salesforce.com in the cloud-based customer relationship management business, and recently Microsoft had offered monetary incentives to Salesforce customers to switch allegiance.
This court case is just the second round to a patent infringement suit last year where the two rivals decided to settle (See: Microsoft and Salesforce Kiss and Make Up). It seems that this case would not meet such an amicable settlement.
By Sourya Biswas