Microsoft and are buddies? Get nervous

When Microsoft and's minor announcement is treated like big news, an acquisition could be under discussion

Microsoft and its new SaaS pal,, announced a surprise partnership around Office 365. My first reaction: This relationship gives me the heebie-jeebies. I decided to explore why.

What bothers me is that has always made "no software" its rallying cry. But guess what Microsoft sells? Moreover, always took jabs at Microsoft's focus on enterprise software. Microsoft's focus has not changed a great deal over the years, even with the addition of the Azure public cloud offering. So why does now see Microsoft as more compatible?

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The bottom line is that the Salesforce CRM will not run in Azure, but the company will use Microsoft's cloud for development and testing of ExactTarget, in addition to offering integration between Salesforce and Office 365. I suspect it would cost a mountain of money and risk to port to Azure, so that can't happen for largely technical reasons. As far as the integration with Office 365, why would it not do so?

When you get down to it, there's not much to this partnership to warrant a joint announcement by their CEOs, Satya Nadella and Marc Benioff. That means something else is going down. Perhaps a deep, more strategic partnership?

I've been saying for a while that is a likely acquisition target. However, only a few big fish could eat Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM are at the top of my list.

Overall, has been innovative in cloud computing -- and perhaps has not been given enough credit for that innovation. However, the pressures of hitting quarter-on-quarter growth that public companies are compelled to deliver could end up driving it into the arms of another vendor. That may be what happens, though I'm not sure or users would benefit from that move.

This article, "Microsoft and are buddies? Get nervous," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.