Microsoft has “no intention” of cutting off access to LinkedIn data, says chief legal officer Brad Smith

Laurent Giret

Back in June, Microsoft announced that it would acquire leading professional social network LinkedIn for $26 billion and it seems that Salesforce is not very happy about it. The CRM provider reportedly entered in a bidding war to purchase the company but the competition reached a whole new level last week as it appeared that Salesforce was now pushing the European Union to block the acquisition, which could “threaten the future of innovation and competition.”

Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith already addressed these concerns in a previous statement where he explained that the company was “committed to continue working to bring price competition to a CRM market in which Salesforce is the dominant participant charging customers higher prices today.” Today, the exec spoke with the Irish Independent to reiterate that the Redmond giant won’t cut off access to LinkedIn data to other companies. “It is not something that we have any intention of doing. The LinkedIn data is public today and we want to make that data useful in lots of new ways,” he explained. Additionally, Smith made it clear that as the largest CRM provider previously tried to buy LinkedIn, suspecting Microsoft of anticompetitive behavior didn’t make a lot of sense:

Obviously if Salesforce thought that, as the largest CRM provider, it could buy LinkedIn, as it obviously did, I have to believe that as the fourth largest CRM provider, we can buy LinkedIn. So I look forward to the continuing conversation and I remain strongly of the view that it will bring more competition to the marketplace.

Lastly, the exec shared that current discussions with EU competition authorities are going well. “They ask lots of questions as they always do and as they always should. I think they have good questions. I think we have good and clear answers to their questions, so from my perspective this is an acquisition that is going to promote competition,” he added.