The news that Microsoft sues Salesforce over patents is really sad news for our industry. With this action, Microsoft has crossed an important line. I used to respect Microsoft. Today, they lost my respect as a competitor. Oh, yes, they may win or they may lose in court. But they know in their heart of hearts that what they are doing is wrong. It was wrong when it was done to them, and it remains wrong when they are doing it to others. Ultimately it is a question of self-respect as a software developer; I assume Bill Gates respected himself enough not to take this path, but I understand times have changed at Microsoft. He knew that to whom much is given, much is expected; Microsoft does not need the blood money from Salesforce to be very profitable.
We have had our disagreements with Salesforce, but today we are all Salesforce. Mr. Benioff I hope you win this, for the sake of all of us in this industry. We are all Salesforce today.
On a related note: here is 37Signals take, in their passionate and heart-felt style: http://37signals.com/svn/posts/2341-microsoft-patent-trolls-salesforce