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8/5/2010
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Microsoft and Salesforce Settle Legal Tussle

Cloud-based CRM vendor pays to resolve patent infringement case.

A patent-infringement case that emerged this spring between Microsoft and Salesforce.com has been settled out of court.

Microsoft offered few details, in a statement released Wednesday, other than to note that Salesforce will pay fees to Microsoft to settle the matter.

Microsoft in May filed suit claiming Salesforce had violated nine patents related to building Web sites without coding, mapping data, making remote software calls, and controlling objects on a display. Salesforce countersued in June, claiming Microsoft's Windows Azure and Windows 7 violated five of its patents.

The financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed. But Microsoft noted in its statement that Salesforce will compensate Microsoft "on the strength of Microsoft's leading patent portfolio in the areas of operating systems, cloud services and customer relationship management software."

The cloud-based CRM vendor issued a terse comment on the matter: "Salesforce.com is pleased to put this litigation behind us."

As part of the settlement, Microsoft said Salesforce.com will receive broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for its products and services as well as its back-end server infrastructure. In addition, Microsoft products and services will receive coverage under Salesforce.com's patent portfolio.

Microsoft and Salesforce.com are in a head-to-head battle in the emerging cloud computing market, particularly in the customer relationship management segment. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is gaining marketshare in a segment led by Salesforce.com's namesake CRM platform.

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