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In new investor report, Salesforce takes aim at Microsoft, Open Data Initiative partners

by Eamon McCarthy Earls
Assistant Editor,

During Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft, SAP and Adobe announced their plans to collaborate on the Open Data Initiative, based on Azure. Meanwhile, Business Insider noticed that Salesforce took rather specific shots at its rivals during its Dreamforce 2018 event. Mark Hawkins, CFO of Salesforce, displayed a slide comparing the company favorably with Microsoft, SAP, Adobe, Oracle and others, while a second slide criticized Microsoft for partnering with Adobe, suggesting that it relied too much on Adobe marketing.

So what do Salesforce potshots mean for enterprise software customers? From the perspective of customers, Fortune 500 software vendors trading potshots can be a bit amusing. But it also could signal that Salesforce is uneasy about the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365, which mirrors many of the features offered by its own products.

With the continued growth of SaaS apps and cloud services, customers have more reasons to move away from purchasing a single software package, choosing instead to mix and match systems. Working with a single vendor may arguably make pricing easier to negotiate or bring with it interoperability advantages. And pooling data, either by selecting a single vendor or by trying to select well-aligned competing vendors who collaborate on a program like the nascent Open Data Initiative, could help to consolidate information for analytics, machine learning, and AI.

Attacking competitors too enthusiastically for their partnerships may hurt Salesforce more than it helps. Salesforce itself announced a very similar partnership with Amazon AWS at almost the same time as Microsoft's announcement. For its part, Microsoft does fill in most of its gaps thanks to its partners, from ...

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About Eamon McCarthy Earls

As the assistant editor at, Eamon helps to oversee editorial content on the site and supports site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Before joining, Eamon was editor for at TechTarget, where he covered networking technology, IoT, and cybersecurity. He is also the author of multiple books and previously contributed to publications such as the Boston Globe, Milford Daily News, and DefenceWeb.