Microsoft Previews CRM Product

Microsoft Corp. previewed its first CRM product this month, Microsoft Customer Relationship Management.

MSCRM, which was built using Microsoft's .Net technology, will include account and contract management, lead management, activity and task management, calendaring and business-management functionality. It also will have a sales-force automation application for creating product catalogs, quotes and orders. The customer-service module will manage contracts and e-mail as well as service requests. A customer portal will provide access to sales and support information and can be used in conjunction with the customer-service capabilities for online chat.

Microsoft will sell a standard version of the suite, starting at $395 per user, and a professional edition with user licensing for $1,295. The software will exchange data with Microsoft's desktop applications including its Outlook and Internet Explorer as well as with its back-office applications, such as accounting and financial packages.

The suite is scheduled to be generally available by year's end in North America. International versions ship in the first quarter of next year.

The product is targeted to companies with 50 to 500 employees. Microsoft said it aims to compete with FrontRange Solutions' GoldMine, Interact Commerce's Sales Logix and products from and The company does not intend to compete with software partners such as Onyx Software, Pivotal and Siebel Systems. The company's Great Plains division has a reseller agreement with Siebel.

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