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Microsoft Sues Former GM Hired by Salesforce.com

Microsoft filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against a former general manager working in the public sector market who left for an executive position at Salesforce.com.

Matt Miszewski previously worked at Microsoft as general manager of worldwide government. He joined Salesforce.com this month as senior vice president for the global public sector, according to a press release issued by Salesforce.com.

Microsoft's complaint, filed at the Superior Court of Washington state in King County, claims breach of contract and "irreparable harm" should Miszewski be allowed to work at Salesforce.com. Miszewski can't work for a competitor for one year's time after leaving Microsoft, according to contract details described in Microsoft complaint.

Miszewski was hired by Microsoft as "an Industry Market Development Manager in Microsoft's Worldwide Public Sector group" in March of 2007, quitting the position in late December of 2010, according to Microsoft's account. He knows Microsoft trade secrets that could be valuable to Salesforce.com, Microsoft's lawsuit explains.

"Throughout his employment with Microsoft, Miszewski had access to some of Microsoft's most confidential, proprietary and trade secret information related to CRM and cloud computing solutions for Public Sector customers," the complaint alleges. Salesforce.com is a fierce Microsoft competitor in the hosted customer relationship management (CRM) software market.

Apparently the court venue matters in such breach-of-contract cases. Miszewski's contract with Microsoft specifies the Washington state venue, although he is now located in California with his new Salesforce.com job. A TechFlash article noted that such non-compete clauses in employment contracts have generally been found to be invalid in California courts.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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