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8/30/2011
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Microsoft Offers Cash For CRM Customers

Redmond will pay $150 per user to customers who ditch rival platforms from Salesforce, Oracle, or SAP.

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Microsoft has launched a program through which it will pay customers to switch from rival CRM products to its own offerings.

Under the plan, dubbed "Cloud CRM for Less," users who are currently on customer relationship management software from Salesforce.com, SAP, or Oracle will receive $150 per user, per seat, if they switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

The offer is good for a minimum of 50 seats and a maximum of 500. "We feel that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online delivers the best CRM service in the market--and at an extremely compelling price point," said Brad Wilson, general manager for Microsoft's Dynamics CRM product management group.

One company that's already taken advantage of the offer is ABC Financial, which develops software for health and fitness clubs.

"We are a very relationship-oriented business and needed a CRM solution that gave us the ability to get a deeper understanding of our clients, their experiences, their company," said ABC Financial CIO Doug Elkins.

"We chose to switch from Salesforce.com to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, not only because it is cost effective, but it seamlessly fit in with our existing systems like Office, Sharepoint, and Lync, and gave us a rich feature set and overall the most value for our investment. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM in place, we now have the tools to manage our customers and their experience, and can focus on growing our business," said Elkins.

Hitachi Consulting and Slalom Consulting have also taken advantage of the offer, according to Microsoft. Analysts believe Redmond's cash incentive could boost its presence in the CRM market.

"An aggressive pricing strategy and developments in functionality put Microsoft closer to par with Salesforce.com on core CRM at roughly one-half to one-third the per-user subscription price," said Nucleus Research, in a note to clients.

It's not the first time Microsoft has used its rich cash reserves to lure customers from rivals. The company for a brief period offered Internet users cash rebates if they switched from Google to Bing for search, and, as first reported by InformationWeek, it handed over $250,000 in incentives to get the University of Nebraska to move from IBM Lotus Notes to Office 365.

Microsoft shares were up 0.70%, to $26.05, in early trading Tuesday.

In the new, all-digital issue of Network Computing: Microsoft and Citrix are closing the gap with VMware. Before you roll out the latest edition of vSphere, reconsider your virtualization platform. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)

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