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2/6/2012
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Microsoft CRM Embraces iPhone, iPad, Android

Microsoft Dynamics CRM update will include native mobile apps for Windows Phone 7, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices.

Microsoft announced Monday that it will embrace rival mobile platforms and browsers with a planned second-quarter service update of its Microsoft Dynamics CRM application.

"In today's hyperconnected world, customers need to be able to access their business-critical data on the device of their choice," said Dennis Michalis, general manager, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in a statement.

That's not exactly new news to customers, but cross-platform support is something Microsoft has only slowly--and fairly recently--embraced as it has moved into broad cloud computing services such as Azure and Microsoft Office 365.

The Dynamics CRM service update will include a new cloud-based mobile CRM service called Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile. It will also include an assortment of native mobile clients for iPad, iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry, as well as Microsoft's own Windows Phone 7. The mobile service will be $30 per user, per month with support for up to three devices per user. The apps will be initially available in 24 markets and 10 languages, according to a Dynamics CRM release preview published by Microsoft.

[ Want more on Microsoft Dynamics? Read Microsoft ERP Release Streamlines Retailing. ]

The Dynamics CRM update will also support a range of current browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari running on PCs, Macs, and iPads.

The second quarter service update, which is expected by May, will also upgrade microblogging and activity feed social collaboration capabilities introduced in the last Microsoft Dynamics CRM service update, released in November. The coming upgrade will add the ability to "like" and "unlike" posts, filter posts by topic, and view a timeline of all posts mention by a filtered term. Bosses can also view all posts filed by direct reports, regardless of whether they "follow" that employee.

The new Dynamics CRM social features and cross-platform mobile and browser support might help Microsoft step up the competition with Salesforce.com, which remains the largest provider of cloud-delivered CRM applications.

Late last year Microsoft said it has more than 30,000 Dynamics CRM customers (versus more than 100,000 customers of Salesforce.com). Microsoft's count includes both cloud and on-premises deployments, but the vendor says two out of three new customers are opting for cloud-delivered CRM app.

IT's jumping into cloud services with too much custom code and too little planning, our annual State of Cloud Computing Survey finds. The new Leap Of Cloud Faith issue of InformationWeek shows you what to be aware of when using the cloud. Also in this issue: Cloud success stories from Six Flags and Yelp, and how to write a SAN RFI. (Free registration required.)

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