Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Judge Says Former Microsoft Exec Can't Work for Salesforce, For Now

Microsoft has won the first round in a fight to prevent one of its former executives from going to work for A judge in King County, Washington, has ruled that Matt Miszewski, once General Manager for Worldwide Government at Microsoft can’t take a job as senior vice president for its Global Public Sector at Salesforce because doing so would violate a non-compete agreement he signed. Judge Kimberly Prochnau, extended a temporary restraining order preventing him from starting the new job. The ruling was first reported by TechFlash.

Miszewski’s lawyers formally answered accusations by Microsoft that he had taken hundreds of megabytes worth of confidential business files. In a filing they argued that Miszewski wouldn’t find any such information useful in the new job in the first place. “Rather I will rely on my managerial expertise, along with the knowledge of government information technology needs and priorities that I gained before joining Microsoft.” Prior to working at Microsoft, Miszewski was the CIO for the state of Wisconsin. He also said that any competitive information he may have in his possession wouldn’t be useful to Salesforce in the first place.

Microsoft Dynamics Online competes directly with in the cloud-based customer relationship management business, and two companies have a bit of a bitter history in court. They grappled in federal court last year over patents, but settled. He’d probably have better luck if he lived in California, where non-compete agreements have generally been found by courts to be unenforceable. Not so in Washington State. Meanwhile Miszewski seems to have found something to do until the case is resolved. His LinkedIn profile lists him as founder at where he’s blogging about transparency, open government, and government IT.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik