Microsoft launches CRM software

By : |January 22, 2003 0

SEATTLE: Microsoft Corp. has launched its first foray into software to help companies manage customer accounts, hoping to undercut more established rivals as it targets price sensitive small businesses.

Microsoft CRM, which Microsoft had been scrambling to unveil in time for its originally scheduled December launch, is a software program that will be integrated with Outlook to let companies automate their customer service and sales activities. It will also be accessible via the Web.

“The integration with Outlook, Microsoft’s contacts, e-mail and scheduling program will give Microsoft CRM an edge since it will let current Microsoft software users adopt it without extensive training,” said David Thacher, general manager of CRM at Microsoft Business Solutions.

In the last two years, Microsoft spent $2.4 billion acquiring small business software makers Great Plains and Navision to shore up its business solutions division.

Siebel Systems Inc. a leader in CRM software for large companies has been targeting smaller enterprises to help boost flagging growth. Although Siebel is Microsoft’s partner, it is expected to go head-to-head with the Microsoft in the CRM market for companies with up to 500 users and $800 million in revenue.

Shares in Siebel dropped nearly 8 percent in one day last month after an analyst who tested Microsoft CRM said that Microsoft’s software posed a competitive threat to Siebel.

Microsoft CRM, which will be sold through resellers, will cost $395 per user plus $995 for the server for a standard version, and $1,295 per-user plus $1,990 for the server.

© Reuters

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