Marc Benioff, co-founder, CEO, and chairman of business software giant Salesforce is a very busy guy. And yet he seems to always find time to poke at rivals.
He’s at it again, inviting Microsoft employees who are being laid off as a part of that company’s annual culling, to apply for jobs at his company. As is his usual custom, Benioff took to Twitter (TWTR) late Thursday to personally invite them to do so.
For background, Microsoft typically undergoes a reorganization—which in recent years also means layoffs—as it kicks off its new fiscal year in July. This year was no different. The company last week acknowledged that it could cut up to “thousands” of jobs, or about 10% of its sales force.
Insiders point out that “sales” is broadly defined, and those affected are not just sales people in the traditional sense but sales engineers and support staff as well.
Some of those affected were told the news at Microsoft’s annual partner conference in Washington D.C. this week, Microsoft sources told Fortune.
Microsoft had no comment on Benioff’s recruiting effort.
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Benioff, and Salesforce (CRM), has enjoyed a fluid love-hate relationship with Microsoft (MSFT). Benioff posed with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in 2014 when the two announced a deeper partnership between the two companies that both offer sales software but also cooperate on other fronts.
Yet when Microsoft (MSFT) acquired LinkedIn, apparently right from under Benioff’s nose last year, things turned sour. Benioff started referring to Microsoft’s “monopolistic” power and complained to European regulators that the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal threatened competition.
At any rate, Benioff, who also relishes tweaking frenemy Oracle and its co-founder Larry Ellison, has now proclaimed Amazon as Salesforce’s key strategic partner. In part, that is a hedge against Microsoft (and Oracle). At one point, he even invoked the old “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” mantra referring to Amazon Web Services, which competes with Microsoft Azure in that they both provide public cloud infrastructure that companies can use instead of building more of their own data centers.
Benioff has got to hope that Amazon (AMZN), which adds more software by the minute, stays out of that sales software arena.