MS Moves To Grab Customers as Salesforce Event Opens

Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce 2010 conference opened Monday in San Francisco — and Microsoft is making a bid to capture Salesforce’s customers. In an open letter released Monday, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant announced it will rebate customers up to $200 for each Salesforce.com or Oracle customer who switches to Microsoft’s upcoming Dynamics CRM Online 2011.

In the letter, Microsoft Vice President Michael Park said Salesforce.com customers should ask themselves some questions. These include, he said, “How can I justify paying two to three times more for an enterprise CRM system than I need to?”

‘99.9 Percent Uptime’

Other questions he raised compare Microsoft’s “financially backed 99.9 percent uptime commitment” for every Dynamics CRM customer with Salesforce.com’s commitment to “commercially reasonably efforts” to keep a business running. He also touted Microsoft’s refreshed-as-needed real-time access to data and dashboards, and the integration of Dynamics CRM Online with Microsoft’s Outlook and Office.

Microsoft’s price per user per month is $34 in an introductory offer during the first year, which, with the addition of a $200-per-customer one-time rebate, means that one user’s cost will be slightly more than $200 per year. The list price of Salesforce’s Enterprise Edition is $125 per user per month.

“At Microsoft,” Park said in the letter, “we do not believe you should be forced to pay a premium to achieve business success.”

Organizations that currently license any of the Salesforce.com editions, or Oracle’s Siebel CRM or CRM on Demand, are eligible. The organization will need to buy at least 15 user licenses, and sign a two-year licensing agreement for Dynamics CRM Online. The deal runs from Dec. 6 through June 30, 2011.

The Dynamics CRM Online 2011 product is expected to launch in January, with the on-premises version being available sometime in first quarter.

‘A Huge Promotion’

Laura DiDio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence Corp., called Microsoft’s…

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