Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff made it clear he’s no longer a fan of the “new” Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella.
Speaking at the Code Conference on Monday, Benioff talked about the short-lived bromance between the two companies and how it all ended up falling apart over a course of just two years.
In particular, Benioff pointed to a meeting that took place between him and Microsoft’s cloud boss Scott Guthrie that really killed the trust he had placed in the company.
The story goes that Benioff took a meeting with Guthrie after his old friend and Microsoft chairman John Thompson connected the two last year. He believed the meeting was intended to share more about Salesforce’s business in hopes of possibly becoming an Azure cloud customer one day. But that wasn’t Microsoft’s real goal, according to Benioff. He said:
“The message was ‘Why don’t you meet with Scott Guthrie? He runs Azure and would really like to walk you through the details of your business because maybe we could get Salesforce to run on Azure’… and I’m like OK, and it was clear also that he was someone not in our business, he was running Azure.”
But then a couple weeks later, Benioff found out through press reports that Guthrie had suddenly been promoted to also run Microsoft’s CRM business, which is a direct competitor to Salesforce. Things got even worse when Salesforce was disinvited from a Microsoft customer event without prior notice. Benioff continued:
“I just came to the conclusion at that point that the new Microsoft is actually the old Microsoft. … And little things like this started stacking up and we put it all together, I don’t feel like this is exactly the new Microsoft that we were looking for.”
Salesforce and Microsoft were not always on the best terms before Nadella became CEO in 2014. The old Microsoft is known for not being particularly friendly with outside partners and Benioff used to openly criticise ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Nadella was different, quickly becoming good friends with Benioff, and even speaking at Salesforce’s big annual conference Dreamforce for the first time in 2015.
But the relationship took a quick turn lately after Microsoft outbid Salesforce for LinkedIn earlier this year.
Salesforce is now trying to convince European regulators to block or impose certain conditions on the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal, claiming it would shutter access to LinkedIn’s data. Salesforce, meanwhile, signed a deal with Amazon Web Services, instead of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform this year.
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