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Judge Bars Former Microsoft Exec From Salesforce Job

Microsoft and Salesforce are bitter competitors in the market for cloud-computing CRM applications

A Washington state judge has extended an order prohibiting a former Microsoft executive from taking a job with arch rival Salesforce.com because the judge said it would violate his non-compete agreement.

Matt Miszewski quit as general manager of Microsoft's worldwide government division in December and in January Salesforce announced that it had hired him as senior vice president, Global Public Sector, where he would to lead the company's cloud-computing public sector initiatives.

But Microsoft went to court to stop Salesforce from hiring Miszewski, arguing that it violated confidentiality and non-competition agreements he signed when he joined Microsoft in 2007.

In late January a Washington state judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing Miszewski from starting in his new job. Following a hearing last week in Washington's King County Superior Court Judge Kimberley Prochnau ruled that Miszewski's new job at Salesforce was in direct violation of the non-compete agreement, according to a posting on Techflash.com.

The judge extended the preliminary injunction barring Miszewski from taking the Salesforce job, pending a permanent injunction.

During the hearing Miszewski and his attorneys argued that the scope of the Salesforce job was largely limited to the U.S., despite having "global" as part of the title, and so did not conflict with his work at Microsoft, which was more international in scope. But Judge Prochnau apparently did not buy that argument.

Last month Microsoft began offering its Dynamics CRM Online 2011 application on a global basis. That product competes head-to-head with Salesforce's cloud-based CRM application.

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