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MS, NA to launch new software package

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CIOL Bureau
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SEATTLE: Network Associates Inc., which provides security systems, said on Wednesday it will provide a new customer help-desk system that will work with Microsoft Corp.'s customer management software.

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The companies, which signed a formal deal on Wednesday, said the system would make help-desk workers more productive by combining customer information, service requests, e-mail, and a variety of specialized functions in one software package.

Network Associates said it will integrate its "Magic Solutions HelpDesk IQ" with Microsoft's Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, software.

Jeff Honeycomb, president of Magic Solutions at Network Associates, said that the new offering would be able to take advantage of the sales networks that two companies have built to sell their software and services. "This continues to deepen our relationship with Microsoft," Honeycomb said.

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Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, which is investing heavily to develop software for smaller- and medium-sized businesses, is a relatively new player in the CRM market. Network Associates specializes in computer security software, and already licenses its virus-scanning software to Microsoft.

The intergraded Microsoft CRM-HelpDesk IQ system will work, for example, by allowing e-mail messages to be converted into service tickets that let help desk workers follow up on customer queries and requests. The new product will be available from June, the companies said.

They did not disclose pricing for the combined product. Microsoft CRM costs $395 per user plus $995 for the server, or $1,295 per-user plus $1,990 for the server for a more advanced version.

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