January 27, 2011, 9:29 AM — Microsoft on Wednesday blocked a former manager from taking a new position as an executive with rival Salesforce.com, according to court documents.
In a complaint filed with a Washington State Superior Court, Microsoft claimed that Matt Miszewski, formerly a general manager of worldwide government with the company, violated his non-compete and confidentiality agreements when he accepted a job as a senior vice president with customer-relationship management (CRM) vendor Salesforce.com.
On Wednesday, the court issued a temporary restraining order that blocks Miszewski from working at Salesforce.com, engaging in any competitive activities or providing services to any of his customers while at Microsoft.
"This case involves an employee with knowledge of Microsoft's sensitive customer and competitive information going to work for Salesforce.com, a direct competitor, in a job that is focused on the same solutions and customers," said David Howard, a Microsoft deputy general counsel, in a statement. "This directly violates the confidentiality and non-competition agreements signed upon beginning work with our company."
Microsoft and Salesforce.com have become fierce rivals in the CRM and cloud computing. Last week, for instance, Microsoft announced special pricing for its Dynamics CRM Online service to current Salesforce.com customers willing to switch.
The firms have also tussled in court. Last summer the companies filed competing federal lawsuits alleging patent violations . They settled before the cases reached trial when each company agreed to extend patent coverage to the other.
In Wednesday's complaint, Microsoft argued that Miszewski had access to "confidential or proprietary business plans for its CRM and cloud computing solutions, plans that discussed explicitly and in detail Microsoft's strategy for competing with Salesforce.com and Microsoft's specific market strategy and intelligence regarding Salesforce.com."
By accepting the job at Salesforce.com, Microsoft said, Miszewski put the company's Dynamics CRM product line and its Azure cloud platform in vulnerable positions.
"Miszewski was -- and is -- uniquely and intimately familiar with some [of] Microsoft's most confidential sales, marketing and production information for its CRM and cloud computing solutions ... including current and future product development plans, product introductions and market strategies, as well as Microsoft's competitive positioning and strategy within the Public Sector marketplace," Microsoft's complaint stated.