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In an interview with Fortune, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff revealed that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella allowed him to hire a key technical fellow and it became the foundation of the partnership between Microsoft and Salesforce.
How did Salesforce.com become so chummy with Microsoft, a sworn enemy?
I was at a dinner with Satya Nadella down at the Rosewood hotel in Menlo Park. And Satya was talking about what he is trying to achieve with the company and how he wants to be more collaborative. So I decided to test him. I told him I wanted to hire one of his technologists as head of our infrastructure. What would be in it for Microsoft is the foundation of a partnership that would give us more kinds of ideas of things that we can do together. And he said okay. Now we’re learning about things that we could do with Microsoft’s file-management technologies and Office that we would never have known on our own.
He commented about Steve Ballmer too,
And you think that couldn’t have happened without Nadella?
The other guy [former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer] did not care about having a relationship with Salesforce. In fact, he kind of did everything he could to not have a relationship with Salesforce.
Randy Kern who was part of Bing infrastructure team is now working as Salesforce.com’s EVP Infrastructure Engineering. Business Insider reports that Randy might be the guy Marc is referring as the key technologist he hired from Microsoft.