Techcrunch is reporting that Microsoft is suing Salesforce.com for patent infringement. After reviewing the list the patent names they are suing for it seems like a petty lawsuit of a company that has failed to gain any traction in the SAAS space.
I have always viewed patent lawsuits as the last resort of a desperate company. I am not saying that all patent lawsuits are petty or out of desperation but there are plenty of examples of companies that have failed to innovate after gaining majority market share, only to have that market share chipped away by others willing to challenge the status quo. Apple and the iPhone for example has changed smart phones for the better and companies like Motorola, Palm (Soon to be owned by HP), and Microsoft to name a few are struggling to catch up.
Microsoft in particular has had to play catch up over the last few years in a number of areas. Google Android phones for instance, are now set to overtake Windows mobile phones in market share and is catching up to Apple according to a recent Gartner Study reports Engadget. Microsoft is also chasing Google’s coat tails in the online document collaboration space with its latest Office Live offering. I still have to say that I prefer using Word and Excel over Google Docs but the collaboration tools available in Google Docs and its widespread use has overridden my dependency on Office on more than one occasion.
Time will tell how this all plays out.