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Judge Blocks Salesforce from Hiring Ex-Microsoft Employee

A Washington superior court judge today enforced a temporary restraining order preventing Salesforce.com from hiring a former Microsoft employee for an executive sales position.

According to a TechFlash article, Judge Kimberly Prochnau ruled that former Redmond employee Matt Miszewski cannot accept the position of "senior vice president for the global public sector" at Salesforce.com because it would compromise the non-compete contract that Miszewski signed with Microsoft. On those same grounds, Judge Prochnau rejected an argument by Miszewski's attorney that his client's work would be restricted to the U.S. market. According to the article, Judge Prochnau ruled that Miszewski can work at Salesforce.com only if the work does not compete with his former position at Microsoft.

Under the terms of Miszewski's contract, as described by Microsoft, Miszewski is prohibited from working with a competitor for one year's time after leaving Microsoft. Miszewski, who served as Microsoft's general manager of worldwide government, quit the company in December to work for California-based Salesforce.com.

The court hearings are happening in the King County Superior Court in Washington because Miszewski's contract with Microsoft specifies that venue. It is thought that California courts would be less receptive to enforcing such non-compete clauses in employment contracts.

Microsoft's lawyers have claimed that Miszewski knows Microsoft trade secrets and could cause "irreparable harm" to the company. They also claim that Miszewski stole 600 MB worth of documents when he left Microsoft.

Microsoft and Salesforce.com are competitors in the hosted customer relationship management software market.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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