Microsoft opening CRM app store

The marketplace, which echoes Salesforce.com's AppExchange, is part of an upcoming CRM release

Microsoft plans to take a cue from rival CRM (customer relationship management) vendor Salesforce.com with the upcoming release of CRM 2011, by adding a marketplace site where partners can sell complementary applications.

CRM 2011 will be available in beta form in September, starting with the Online edition. The Dynamics Marketplace, which echoes Salesforce.com's AppExchange, will go live that month as well. Beginning with the Online version, the application will be generally available by the end of the year, according to a spokesperson.

Microsoft will also expand geographic availability of CRM Online to 40 markets by the end of the year, adding Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Cyprus, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago to the list.

The core CRM product is getting a range of updates as well, including "role-tailored" interfaces that correspond to a user's job, as well as improved integrations with Outlook, Office and SharePoint.

CRM 2011 "has been brewing for a long while," but independent software vendors seem keen to work with it, said 451 Group analyst China Martens via e-mail.

The Dynamics Marketplace is an "important integration, since one of the reasons some customers talk about going with Salesforce.com is being able to easily identify a whole ecosystem of complementary apps and extensions around its CRM -- something Microsoft does well to emulate," she added.

Microsoft is also wise to keep strengthening ties between CRM and Office, since Salesforce.com can't compete as well there, Martens said.

But one aspect of CRM 2011 -- its pricing model -- remains unclear. Microsoft has been "pretty aggressive" in pricing CRM Online compared to Salesforce.com, Martens noted.

Along with the fact that customers can also choose to deploy its CRM application on-premises or via partner hosting, if Microsoft keeps up with the pricing pressure it has a strong competitive case against Salesforce.com, she added.

Microsoft plans to release pricing information at a later date, according to a spokesperson.

But overall, Microsoft has a tall mountain to climb before it topples Salesforce.com. The latter is the largest sales automation software vendor in the world, with US$885 million in related applications revenue in 2009, according to a recent report by analyst firm IDC.

Oracle and SAP took up the second and third slots on IDC's list, with $820 million and $642 million, respectively. Microsoft came in fifth with $139 million.

The IDC figures do not include "service revenue derived from training, consulting, and system integration that is separate (or unbundled) from the right-to-use license," according to the report.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags application developmentCustomer Relationship ManagementapplicationsMicrosoftSalesforce.comapp storesoftwarecloud computingcrminternet

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?