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Convergence 2008 Highlights Useability and Services

Ease of use was a big emphasis on stage at Convergence 2008, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer noting the Microsoft Office-like interface of Dynamics products in his keynote address.

At the Orlando, Fla. event, which is happening today, Microsoft demonstrated a preview of Dynamics AX 2009, which is scheduled for release in the first half of this year.

The event was also the forum for announcing closer ties with EDS. Microsoft and EDS are planning joint development and marketing efforts around Microsoft Dynamics CRM, targeting midmarket call centers and enterprises.

Microsoft's Software Plus Services strategy was also highlighted. Dynamics products are slated to become available to customers in three forms: on-premises installed, partner hosted or Microsoft hosted. An announcement issued by Microsoft also mentioned that a "hybrid approach" was possible.

Dynamics CRM Live, the hosted version, is planned for the spring of 2008, when Microsoft's announcement said that it would be "broadly accessible." The solution will be "managed from secure Microsoft datacenters," the announcement added.

Microsoft also announced initial services that can be used to extend its CRM and ERP applications. One of those offerings will be a payment service to detect credit card fraud, using PayPal and Chase Paymentech Solutions technologies. There will also be a marketplace service enabling integration with eBay. A third service will help keep track of marketing campaigns.

For more details about the event, as reported from the Convergence 2008 floor, including Ballmer's keynote, see impressions by Redmond Channel Partner's Lee Pender, as described in his blog here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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