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Salesforce.com CEO: CRM Live Is Another Zune

Microsoft this week took the wraps off a major part of its hosting strategy -- the CRM Live initiative, which involves the company itself hosting customer relationship management applications for customers (and sold through, but not hosted by, partners) at bargain-basement prices.

Never one to back down to Redmond (quite the contrary, in fact), Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff immediately began running smack about Redmond's new scheme, or so it said in this article:

"Benioff said Microsoft customers are already paying prices similar to what Microsoft announced today for hosted CRM software through partners. 'These "new" prices are their market prices today -- there is no difference,' said Benioff in an e-mail interview. 'When you have an inferior product you have to have an inferior price. That is why Zune is priced below iPod. And why Windows CE is priced below BlackBerry. And why Microsoft CRM is priced below Salesforce.com.'"

Ohhhhh! That was nasty! But, we're wondering to what extent Benioff is whistling in the graveyard. Yes, his company pretty much owns hosted CRM. And, yes, Salesforce.com is ahead of Microsoft functionality-wise. But -- and isn't there always a "but"? -- this is Redmond and the enterprise we're talking about, and Microsoft's really just getting started hosting its own CRM applications. The CRM Live price point is bound to be attractive, and we're guessing that Microsoft will be able to catch up to Salesforce.com in terms of functionality at some point -- at least close enough to make customers take a second look at the more affordable package.

Still, Benioff gets the award for line of the week so far. It's just too bad that he couldn't have worked a shot at Vista in there just to complete the trifecta.

Is CRM Live another Zune, or will it be a real enterprise contender? Let me know at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 07/11/2007 at 1:21 PM


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