Microsoft Plans to Take CRM Services Online

There doesn’t seem to be a business Microsoft doesn’t want to slap a “Live” label on as they get ready to roll out Windows Vista in early 2007. Today, Microsoft announced it plans to introduce a Web-based version of its customer relationship management (CRM) sales and marketing software called Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live in 2007. CRM software is designed to help companies track leads and manage sales resources and personnel. The move would put Microsoft into competition with segment leaders like Salesforce.com, Oracle, and SAP AG in a market estimated to be worth over $11 billion.

“We believe in the power of software plus services, and today’s introduction of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live is another example of our delivering against that vision,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft’s Business Division. “Microsoft CRM Live will provide a software-as-a-service option for deploying our leading CRM solution and will also afford partners new opportunities to deliver their value-added services.”

Microsoft Dynamic CRM Live would also open another front in the company’s competition with online service operators like Yahoo and Google, as it tries to make its “Live” brand a one-stop destination for any sort of online service, from photo sharing to blogs to office productivity software to, now, CRM needs. Microsoft Dynamic CRM Live should become available for a monthly subscription fee during the second quarter of 2007, although the company declined to provide any pricing information. Microsoft executives have said in the past that they believed CRM software could become the company’s next billion-dollar business.