In response to a patent lawsuit filed by Microsoft last May, Salesforce is countersuing with its own patent infringement claims (complaint embedded below). But a mere countersuit isn’t enough for CEO Marc Benioff. He is also bringing a big-gun lawyer to the knife fight, Microsoft’s nemesis from the antitrust trial of the 1990s, David Boies.
During Salesforce’s last earnings call, Benioff obliquely referred to Microsoft as an “unnamed patent troll” and “alley thugs.” In response to a question about Microsoft’s lawsuit on the call, Benioff said, according to ZDNet
Personally, I’m just disappointed to see this from a former leader of our industry, but it’s eminently resolvable and it’s not material to our day-to-day business. It’s basically a no-impact situation. It’s not something that I think anyone needs to make anything of., “It’s basically a no-impact situation. It’s not something that I think anyone needs to make anything of.
But he is making something of it now. David Boies doesn’t come cheap. Hiring him as the Salesforce’s lawyer is designed to send a message to Redmond that Salesforce is not going to pull any punches.
The lawsuit claims that Microsoft products such as SharePoint and parts of the .Net platform violate some of Salesforce’s own cloud computing patents, according to Bloomberg, which broke the story. The countersuit covers five Salesforce patents dealing with managing distributed, web-based computer systems.
The patents in question are:
Patent No. 6,813,633, “Dynamic multi-level cache manager.”
Patent No. 6,918,059, “Method and system for handling errors in a distributed computer system.”
Patent No. 7,024,454, “Work sharing and communicating in a web site system.”
Patent No. 7,209,929, “Java object cache server for databases.”
Patent No. 7,305,454, “Apparatus and methods for provisioning services.”
Salesforce is an enterprise cloud computing company that provides business software on a subscription basis. The company is best known for its on-demand Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions. Salesforce was founded in 1999 by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff, and went public in June 2004. Salesforce has been a pioneer in developing enterprise platforms through its innovative AppExchange directory of on-demand applications, and its Force.com “Platform as a Service” (PaaS) API for extending Salesforce.
Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured. Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market. Additionally, the company has ventured into hardware with consumer products such as the Zune and...