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Microsoft Quietly Gets Serious about Dynamics CRM Online

Microsoft has a strange habit of working on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. We've noted this before, and on Monday it happened again.

While much of the nation was sledding or skating on frozen ponds on Monday (hey, sunshine types, don't knock winter until you've tried it), Microsoft was busy talking up by far its most complete version of Dynamics CRM Online, it's software-as-a-service customer relationship management suite.

Dynamics CRM 2011 Online could put a serious hurting on Salesforce.com and Oracle, both of which (particularly Salesforce.com) have come to dominate hosted CRM with simple, sleek, feature-complete offerings. Finally, Microsoft is on the bandwagon with a version of CRM Online that does everything its on-premises counterpart does.

Plus, there's that old Microsoft calling card -- integration, in this case with Outlook and browsers as well as with mobile devices, including the iPhone. CRM 2011 Online is fairly cheap, too, with pricing starting at $34 per user per month.

So,  if CRM Online is the one that's finally ready to go toe-to-toe with Salesforce.com (and it is), then why on earth is Microsoft giving it the short shrift? No lesser a luminary than Steve Ballmer himself was there to introduce the product to partners and customers Monday...in Redmond...on a national holiday...in a presentation that wasn't streamed live online.

Seriously, Microsoft, what gives? You're sitting on a gold mine, as well as on some superb products, with Dynamics. Why do you always treat Dynamics as if it's some sort of country cousin or drunken uncle and only trot it out when nobody's around? Set Dynamics free, Microsoft. Give it the full launch treatment, with a party and a live stream and a debut date that doesn't coincide with most people sitting at home and sipping brandy by the fire.

Have you seen a demo of Dynamics CRM 2011 Online? What's your take on it? Send it to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 01/19/2011 at 1:23 PM


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