Microsoft Accuses Customer Relationship Management Giant of Infringing Nine Software Patents

Microsoft Corp. is suing Inc with the accusation that the customer relationship management (CRM) giant has infringed nine patents for ways to make software more efficient.

The complaint targets the customer-relationship management software that is the hallmark of’s business. It seeks a court order that would prevent the San Francisco-based company from providing features that Microsoft claims it invented., the biggest seller of internet-based customer relationship management software with $1.3 billion in sales last year, was founded in 1999 and offers software that businesses subscribe to and use over the web for running marketing campaigns and tracking sales leads. It competes against Microsoft’s Dynamics software in the CRM market.

“Microsoft has been a leader and innovator in the software industry for decades and continues to invest billions of dollars each year in bringing great software products and services to market,” said Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel for intellectual property and licensing. Microsoft “cannot stand idly by when others infringe” our intellectual property rights, he said.

The complaint was filed in federal court in Seattle after more than a year of talks, according to Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker. The CEO of, Marc Benioff, has said he wants customers and software developers to write online applications on his system, dubbed, much like the way personal computer programs run on Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

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