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Microsoft: CRM Strategy Doesn't Include the Enterprise

Microsoft Corp. took pains to clarify that the new Customer Relationship Management software it announced Tuesday will be strictly for small- and medium-sized businesses.

In a Q&A on its Web site, Microsoft posted an answer to the question: "Does Microsoft have plans to target the enterprise in the CRM space?"

"No, we do not have plans to target the enterprise in the CRM space. However, through our strategic alliance with Siebel Systems Inc., we offer a CRM solution to medium enterprise customers," Microsoft wrote.

Microsoft's plans for the CRM market have been the subject of much speculation since word of this announcement began circling in recent weeks. Established enterprise players do not want Microsoft to horn in on the market, and smaller CRM vendors will have to contend with Microsoft's name recognition and competitive tactics. As with any time Microsoft pushes into a new market, it disturbs a hornets nest of partnership issues.

"Our commitment to our partners remains unchanged," Microsoft declares in the Q&A. "CRM partners have been briefed on our announced CRM solutions as well as the vision for the Business Solutions group. Most of our CRM partners are playing in a space above our target markets (enterprise segment), and/or have existing back-office relationships with Microsoft Great Plains."

The new CRM solution will be called Microsoft Customer Relationship Management, and it is scheduled to be available in the fourth quarter. The product will work as a stand-alone piece of software, Microsoft says, but Microsoft CRM will be built for integration with Microsoft Great Plains ERP software and Microsoft Office.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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