Microsoft to go ‘on demand’ (2)

Reactions to news (eg: here and here) that Microsoft is to release its own customer relationship management (CRM) application as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application range from positive welcomes to derision.

Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM product line will be transformed into a "Live" service when it ships next year. Rival SaaS CRM vendors aren’t worried (Marc Benioff apparently told staff that the step simply vindicated the SaaS model, and his company’s share price continued to rise), but some analysts doubt that Microsoft will make the transition. Phil Wainewright is particularly scathing:

Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM doesn’t exist. It’s vaporware. This is a fud announcement of a plan to introduce a product this time next year ("in the second quarter of 2007") in the hope that it’ll persuade customers to postpone buying decisions. The ploy was often used by the likes of IBM, Oracle and others back in the 1990s to spread ‘fear, uncertainty and doubt’ (hence, FUD) among competitors. It worked when software applications used to take several years to develop and several more to deploy. What difference would a mere nine months make to anyone’s implementation timescales? But in the on-demand world, the strategy is as redundant as Microsoft’s far-from-Live CRM service. Anyone who’s already thinking about deploying on-demand CRM can have it up and running by the fall, six months ahead of Microsoft’s availability schedule — and that’s before you even start think about implementing the Microsoft application, which shows every sign of being every bit as laborious and time-consuming as it is with the current on-premises software.

His follow-up post, Microsoft CRM Live is a dud, is equally scornful.

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