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Microsoft Announces 'Cloud CRM for Less' Program

A Microsoft program unveiled on Monday called "Cloud CRM for Less" would pay customers $150 per user seat for switching to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online from competitors SAP, Salesforce.com and Oracle.

The offer is scheduled to run until the end of March 2012, assuming the unspecified amount of funding for the program lasts that long.

The timing of Microsoft's announcement -- just in time for the start of Salesforce.com's Dreamforce event -- typifies the tactic of making pre-emptive announcements to steal some of the spotlight from a competitor's conference.

In explaining the timing, Michael Park, corporate vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions sales, marketing and operations, said in a statement that a lot of hype in the market is creating confusion for customers right now. "We also realize there are some hard costs associated for customers that decide to move vendors," Park said.

The offer applies to organizations with between 50 seats and 500 seats in the United States or Canada, and requires a two-year licensing subscription. That payout of $7,500 to $75,000 can be used for anything, Microsoft documentation says, although the company expects the payments to help customers pay partners for migration services or other integration work.

In a news release about the promotion, Microsoft cited two partners as examples of companies creating profitable business lines around Dynamics CRM Online: Hitachi Consulting and Slalom Consulting. Brian Rimmer, Slalom's national solution director for CRM, was quoted as saying the new promotion would help Slalom fit complete Dynamics CRM Online solutions to customers' budgets.

Meanwhile, Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft's Dynamics CRM product management group, said the cost of Dynamics CRM Online, which is $44 per user per month, combined with the cashback offer, improves already favorable economics. "Customers choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online over solutions from Oracle, Salesforce.com and SAP to get compelling increases in productivity and user adoption, as well as significant reductions in ongoing costs," Wilson said in a statement.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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