Microsoft's Fragmented ERP Line At Least Gets Unified Pricing

Want some high-end financial software? You might want to try out Microsoft Dynamics, er, Dynamics AX, NAV, GP or Solomon, that is. Redmond has four different financial tools, which used to have four different pricing models. Microsoft is working like demons to create a single uber tool, and in the meantime has been making the interfaces similar and many of the components interchangeable.

This week the company took the decent step of trying to rationalize pricing and licensing for the product line. At first it sounded simpler: There is an entry-level, a mid-level and a high-end product. Then I realized there is an entry-level, a mid-level and a high-end product for each of the four tools -- 12 SKUs in all!

Despite the confusion (it takes a rocket scientist or an IRS auditor to figure out this product line), look for Microsoft to own the mid-market ERP, CRM and supply chain spaces in the years to come. Mark my words.

Firefox on Fire
None of my kids use Internet Explorer. The two boys on their iBooks pound away on Safari, while my daughter (after cleaning spyware for the umpteenth time) was finally convinced to use Firefox. Despite all this, IE maintained a stranglehold on browsers -- until now. IE is down to a paltry 83 percent -- nothing to sneeze at for most, but a disaster for Redmond. I'm not sure if IE7 can reverse the slide, but I will tell you that I don't see any exciting new browser technology on the way. What do you want from the next-generation browsers? Tell us at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

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Bigger and Bigger Hard Drives for More and More Junk?
Hard-drive makers and SAN and NAS vendors love it when we back up data, no matter how useless it is! No one, it seems, ever asks if we need to keep up all this clutter. And with all the laws about compliance, sometimes we're not even allowed to ask. That's why information asset management (IAM) is such a bright spot. This software promises to help IT save only what needs to be saved, and archive only what needs to be archived. When was the last time you cleaned out all your old e-mail and Word docs?

IAM player Ninji Corp. is serious about this market and has $13 million fresh VC dollars to go after it.

What do you think? Are you more worried about adding storage capacity and better backup, or do you also try to control the data itself through quotas, training and other means? Write me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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