A new partnership between rivals Microsoft and Salesforce.com has left some Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers and partners wondering about the future of Microsoft's own CRM offering.
With its Dynamics CRM product and service, Microsoft has been chasing CRM market leader Salesforce for years. So it had to be a bit odd for Microsoft's Dynamics team to hear Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella say "We are bringing the leading CRM application to Windows devices, both phones and PCs" -- in reference to Salesforce, not Microsoft Dynamics CRM -- as he did yesterday.
On May 29, Microsoft and Salesforce announced a partnership via which a Salesforce1 CRM app for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 are in the works and will debut in beta form later this year. (It's not clear from the announcement who will build and support the app and whether Microsoft is paying Salesforce as part of the arrangement.) The pair also announced continued integration between Office and Office 365 and Salesforce's marketing cloud offering.
Microsoft launched its own Dynamics CRM apps for Windows Phone and Windows 8 in the fall of 2013.
Kirill Tartarinov, the Executive Vice President of Microsoft Business Solutions (the Dynamics CRM and ERP unit), said in a blog post yesterday that Microsoft and Salesforce will continue to compete while continuing to partner. From his post:
"Salesforce is acknowledged for their leadership in shaping this industry by delivering applications in the cloud. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is one of the fastest growing products at Microsoft and shows no signs of slowing down as we continue to innovate and make progress. Our unique ability to deliver agile, simple to use, end-to-end solutions that take advantage of all Microsoft technologies puts us on the precipice of tremendous opportunity to impact businesses and organizations throughout the world."
Alongside the Spring update -- and its on-premises complement, known as Dynamics CRM 2013 Service Pack 1 -- Microsoft will be rolling out Social Listening, its social-analytics app based on technology it acquired when it bought Netbreeze and Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, the new name for Microsoft's marketing-automation app.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said that Salesforce would be doing some testing and development using Microsoft's Azure cloud, but wouldn't be putting any of Salesforce's core CRM apps or services on Azure. Salesforce's Heroku platform runs on Amazon's AWS, and will continue to do so, Benioff said.
Microsoft's Dynamics CRM Online isn't yet hosted on Azure, either. (Dynamics CRM can run in a virtual machine on Windows Server in Azure.) But Microsoft is using Azure as the base for some of its newer CRM-related components. Microsoft Social Listening runs on Azure, a spokesperson confirmed. And Microsoft Dynamics Marketing is using Azure storage.