Microsoft has revealed it plans to enter the growing market for customer relationship management software. Aimed at the small to medium-size business sector, Microsoft CRM is expected to ship in the US in the fourth quarter 2002 with phased shipments outside North America from the first quarter 2003. The software will provide sales and customer service capabilities plus integration with Great Plains and other Microsoft back office software.
Microsoft bought Great Plains Software for $1.1 billion in late December 1999. At that time, said it planned to expand the family of Great Plains’ accounting and small-business offerings over time.
The company’s original CRM plans involved offering multiple versions, including one hosted by Microsoft that would be available via the Web on a per-month/per-user basis. The company now says it plans to sell MSCRM exclusively as an on-premise solution that will run at the customer’s site.
Microsoft also stated that it has no intentions to sell CRM software to large customers or into markets targeted by its software vendor partners, such as Siebel Systems.