Salesforce, Microsoft, and patent 'alley thugs'

Marc Benioff,'s CEO, uses an earnings call to diss Microsoft and its patent lawsuit. CEO Marc Benioff was on his game during an earnings call Thursday, tossing out a zinger aimed at Microsoft.

Benioff was asked whether Microsoft's lawsuit would impact business. Technically, Benioff was just asked about "the lawsuit," but it was clear that Microsoft's patent move was the subject. Benioff said the suit wouldn't derail the company's focus and added:

The reality is that these patent trolls are unfortunately just part of doing business and technology these days. They're basically the alley thugs. Every thriving economy has alley thugs and we do too. And that's fine. You know?

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.

Read more of "'s Benioff likens Microsoft to patent 'alley thug'" at ZDNet's Between the Lines.

About the author

    Larry Dignan is editor in chief of ZDNet and editorial director of CNET's TechRepublic. He has covered the technology and financial-services industries since 1995.


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