Microsoft unveils entry-level CRM application

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Redmond, Wash.--Microsoft Corp. is readying an entry-level customer relationship management product to be available in the second half of this year.

Microsoft CRM, as the product will be called, is designed for small and midsize businesses and takes advantage of Microsoft’s .Net technology. .Net is Microsoft’s Web services technology that enables communication between various applications. In the case of CRM, .Net might link information aboutcustomers stored separately in e-mail, contact management and sales force automation software.

Microsoft already offers small businesses a service on its bCentral Web site for tracking sales leads, but that service requires all customer information to be stored on the Web site. The new offering will take advantage of information already stored in a company’s own systems.

Microsoft also offers a higher-end sales and marketing automation module that plugs into a large CRM package from Siebel Systems. But Microsoft stressed that it does not plan to offer its own full CRM package for large businesses.

Pricing for Microsoft CRM will be detailed as the availability date approaches, the company said.

-- David Joachim

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