MS CRM goes to press

Microsoft released to manufacturing Tuesday the Microsoft CRM (customer relationship management) software that's had the industry buzzing since its announcement a year ago.

Originally scheduled to ship by the end of 2002, the software's street date slipped as Microsoft continued working on the front-to-back integration it has promised. Microsoft CRM is intended as a low-cost, entry-level product for smaller businesses seeking a CRM package that will easily connect to ubiquitous Microsoft products such as Word and Outlook The software should be shipping in North America in about a week from several hundred resellers, according to Microsoft. More than 200 customer orders are already waiting, a spokeswoman said.

Microsoft CRM is only available for purchase now in the U.S. and Canada, but localized versions for Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America are scheduled for release in the second half of 2003, Microsoft said.

Pricing for the software ranges from US$395 per user, plus $995 for the server, to $1,295 per user and $1,990 for the server, depending on the package chosen.

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