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How LinkedIn Defused Protest Over Microsoft Deal

In the weeks before Salesforce urged European regulators to block Microsoft’s LinkedIn purchase late last month, Salesforce’s legal team tried to get SugarCRM, a rival in the sales software business, to join its lobbying efforts. Salesforce, which also tried to buy LinkedIn, has argued that Microsoft will have an unfair advantage selling software to business users by getting deep access to LinkedIn’s data.

But LinkedIn contacted SugarCRM around the same time. To address some of SugarCRM’s concerns about the Microsoft deal, LinkedIn offered to give it and other companies—like Oracle, SAP, NetSuite and HubSpot—limited access to LinkedIn data. That would include a user’s name, photo and current title to help salespeople target leads. SugarCRM is still considering that idea and isn’t yet ready to oppose the acquisition.

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