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10/31/2002
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Microsoft Makes More CRM Inroads

Vendor expands agreement with Pivotal to target midsize businesses.

Microsoft on Thursday said it's expanding an agreement with customer-relationship management vendor Pivotal Corp. to jointly target midsize enterprise users.

The broadened relationship will include new products and marketing initiatives focusing on the health-care and contact-center markets, specifically.

Microsoft has been ramping up its emphasis on the CRM market of late, most notably via a major partnership with CRM leader Siebel Systems Inc. In addition, Microsoft has been building its own E-business applications business via acquisitions of Great Plains Software and Navision.

Navision's apps got their first upgrade under Microsoft this week. Microsoft's bCentral Web site also provides an array of CRM services for small and midsize businesses.

Microsoft and Pivotal have been partnered in joint business-development deals since 1996, the companies said. In December 2000, the companies upped the ante with a joint sales, marketing, and product-development effort.

Pivotal and Microsoft's joint offering includes the Pivotal CRM software suite with applications for marketing, sales, service, contact centers, partner-relationship management, and interactive selling. The suite is optimized for the Microsoft platform, including SQL Server 2000, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, BizTalk Server, Commerce Server, Internet Information Server, and Exchange Server.

Midmarket is a Microsoft strength and a major target of its .Net infrastructure strategy.

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