Microsoft Says SAAS Version of CRM Product Due in 2007

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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 said yesterday at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Boston.

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that helps businesses work more effectively.

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 is also due by the middle of next year.

The move 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.

At the conference, the company also confirmed that Microsoft Dynamics CRM continues to enjoy extremely rapid growth across all segments, geographic regions and industries, and has added more than 50,000 new users in the most recent quarter. The current version is completing its international language rollout, including a May launch in China and a launch this quarter in Japan. At its Worldwide Partner Conference 2006 in Boston yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the second version of its Windows Small Business Server 2003 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.

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