Why This Startup Says It Has Been “Disinvited” From a Microsoft Conference

March 15, 2016, 3:53 PM UTC
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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella addresses shareholders during Microsoft Shareholders Meeting December 3, 2014 in Bellevue, Washington.
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The cloud start-up Okta says it has joined a rare club of companies to be banned from one of Microsoft’s biggest conferences of the year.

Okta CEO Todd McKinnon told Business Insider that the company, which has sponsored Microsoft’s Ignite conference for years, has been “disinvited” from sponsoring or exhibiting at the September gathering.

Microsoft cited competition between the two companies as the reason for its sudden cold shoulder in an email to Okta, but Business Insider noted that plenty of the company’s competitors, like Cisco, attend the conference each year.

Okta helps companies manage their employees’ passwords with cloud services, and some of its products perform the same function as newer Microsoft products. “We love Office 365,” McKinnon told BI. “It’s very important that we work very well with Microsoft products. So we sponsor shows, come to events, and are vocal about Office 365.”

Fortune has reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update this post with their reply.



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