As Salesforce considers options, Microsoft seems a likely suitor

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Since fielding a recent overture from another major technology company, executives have spent recent days evaluating their two clearest options—pursuing a sale to another company or remaining independent, according to a person familiar with their thinking.

In the course of those conversations, this person added, Microsoft appears the most likely candidate to potentially purchase Salesforce, the leading client relationship management company based in San Francisco. But Microsoft is only one of the names on a short list of competitors that Salesforce believes to be interested in a potential deal, this person said, and other bids may well emerge. (Oracle has also been mentioned as a possible buyer.)

Read More 'Doubtful' Microsoft will buy Salesforce: Analysts

Word of the as-yet unidentified initial bidder and the possibility of a future overture from Microsoft were first reported by Bloomberg.

Is Salesforce for sale?

As it considers the possibility of selling itself to a competitor, Salesforce is also debating whether a sale even makes sense, the person familiar with the company's thinking said. Remaining independent may prove to be a more attractive option, this person added, so how to mount an effective defense against an unwanted purchase proposal is also a consideration.

A spokesman for Salesforce said on Monday that the comment doesn't comment on rumors or speculation. A spokesperson for Microsoft declined to comment.

Read More Here's why Microsoft could buy Salesforce