Salesforce keeps nipping at the heels of Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn like a badly behaved dog. While the exercise is futile for any significant results, it will almost certainly drive the cost of the merger up a bit in the form of legal fees.
What is really strange about the entire effort is that, while Salesforce has very little basis for monopoly accusations in the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal, there would be much more basis for those types of accusations in a Salesforce-LinkedIn partnership.
Anti-trust legislation was created to keep rivals from joining together to take control of a market, because that would effectively eliminate competitors and remove any incentive to keep prices fair. Competition is the consumer’s best friend.
But Microsoft and LinkedIn are not in the same business. LinkedIn’s membership database would be complementary to Microsoft’s operations. Salesforce, on the other hand, is a customer relation management (CRM) company. In fact, it is already the biggest CRM company around, at the moment. Adding LinkedIn’s database would almost certainly seal its dominance of the market and have competitors complaining.
Yet, Salesforce tried to buy LinkedIn itself, it just got beat out by Microsoft. So the whole attempt to get anti-trust legislators to block the deal is, in itself, a serious move toward suppressing competition in order to continue dominating the market. Which is why there is very little chance US regulators will do much about it.
European regulators may take it a bit farther, as they seem to have a penchant for trying to squeeze fines out of tech companies. Still, chances are that this acquisition isn’t actually hurting the marketplace, and things won’t progress over there much more than over here.
However, in both areas, Microsoft will definitely be running up some huge legal bills in trying to put these cases to rest. Salesforce may want to start thinking about the possibility Microsoft may try to recoup them in the form of lawsuits against Salesforce for malicious mischief.