Microsoft launches new CRM cloud promotion on eve of Salesforce conference

Microsoft is launching a new Dynamics CRM Online promotional deal, as well as unleashing a new spoof virtualization video the same week that Salesforce's Dreamforce and VMware's VMworld shows are kicking off.

Microsoft is launching a limited-time promotion for its Dynamics CRM Online service on the opening day of rival Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference.

Via its "Cloud CRM for Less" offer, Microsoft is targeting Salesforce, SAP and Oracle switchers, the Redmondians announced on August 29. (However, to qualify, customers seemingly don't need to be using products or services from any of these vendors.)

Microsoft is offering users $150 in cash per user seat for between 50 and 500 seats per customer. The promotional offer is available between now and March 31, 2012.

Here's the fine print: The deal is only open to customers in U.S. and Canada and only to those that purchase at least 50 CRM Online licenses. To get the money back, companies need to sign a two-year licensing subscription deal for Microsoft's Dynamics CRM Online.

Microsoft CRM Online is priced at $44 per user per month.

Microsoft officials have said they plan to roll out a new version of the CRM Online service before the end of this calendar year. They also are going to add CRM Online to Microsoft's Office 365 hosted-app bundle later this year. Office 365 currently includes Microsoft-hosted Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online.

Salesforce isn't the only company at which Microsoft is taking aim at the start of the week. In honor of VMware's VMworld conference, which kicks off on August 29, Microsoft also made one of its trademark video spoofs available. Remember Gmail Man? Today, Microsoft took the wraps off his counterpart, Tad, who works for a virtualization company stuck in the past known as VMlimited.

Microsoft has been keeping close tabs on VMware customers' reactions to the new vSphere pricing and playing up the higher costs that the new "vTax" will impose.

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