Microsoft Says Hosted CRM Apps Due By Mid-2007

It also promises integration with competing vendors' ERP and CRM software.
Microsoft's software-as-a-service version of its Dynamics CRM application will be available in the second quarter of next year, letting the company offer on-premise and hosted versions of its CRM software, CEO Steve Ballmer announced Tuesday at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Boston.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live will use the same code base as Dynamics CRM 4.0, the next major release of the on-premise version of the application that's also due by the middle of next year. That will let Microsoft provide customers with combinations of the on-premise and hosted versions of the application—similar to the strategy SAP has followed with its CRM applications.

Dynamics CRM Live will be operated and managed by Microsoft in its Windows Live data centers and initially will target small businesses.

Microsoft also unveiled the second version of its Windows Small Business Server 2003 at the conference and confirmed plans to release a version of BizTalk Server that can integrate Microsoft CRM software with ERP and CRM apps from competitors Oracle and SAP.

In a keynote speech, Ballmer also made light of the fact that it's taken six years since the debut of Windows XP to develop Windows Vista, which is due early next year. "We will never have this kind of gap again," he promised the vendor's business partners.

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