What's Microsoft doing to bring CRM Mobile cross-platform (take two)

What's Microsoft doing to bring CRM Mobile cross-platform (take two)

Summary: Microsoft is delivering cross-platform support in two phases, and will make its mobile, native CRM clients, due out next year, free.

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Microsoft's strategy for delivering cross-platform versions of its mobile client has shifted. (And not in the same way that Microsoft's Silverlight strategy has shifted.)

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Yesterday, I blogged that Microsoft was delaying for a second time the promised delivery of its CRM mobile clients for iPad, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry. But what's actually happening is more nuanced.

Bill Patterson, Principal Program Manager with the Dynamics CRM team, told me on November 2 that Microsoft's strategy for delivering the cross platform clients shifted earlier this summer.

"We did have a strategy for (multi-platform) native applications that we had been working on," Patterson said. But after customer and partner feedback, "we decided that it was a compromised experience," he said. "We decided to change and go continuous." ("Continuous" here means consistent and connected across browser, slate/tablet and phone.)

Microsoft's new go-to-market strategy for its mobile CRM clients will occur in two phases.

"We believe the Web browser is the great equalizer across all form factors," said Patterson. That's why Microsoft is making sure to make its CRM capabilities accessible via multiple browsers, including Internet Explorer (including IE10), Chrome, Firefox and Safari on PCs and Macs, as of its December 2012 service update for Dynamics CRM. (This service update is codenamed Polaris.) MIcrosoft will add support for Safari on iOS in January 2013, he said.

Microsoft still plans to deliver native clients for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and the iPad by mid-2013, Patterson said. These clients will all be built using HTML5 and JavaScript, he said. The company is evaluating when and whether to build native clients for Android and BlackBerry at a later date -- or whether to deliver support for them only via a Web browser.

Hold onto your hats for this additional change: The Dynamics CRM team has decided to make the native clients that are coming next year free. That's instead of charging $30 per user per month, as originally announced. Patterson attributed the decision to go free to Microsoft wanting to offer users a more fluid, continuous experience.

Topics: iOS, Android, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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7 comments
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  • "clients will all be built using HTML5 and JavaScript"

    How "native" can the clients be if they're built on HTML5 & JS? Isn't this the approach that Facebook tried, and then abandoned for ground-up clients built on native platforms? I can definitely understand the desire for a "continuous" UI/UX, but if it's continuously sup-optimal, why bother?
    matthew_maurice
    • Because it's easy.

      Thanks to PhoneGap and it's equivalents along with the proliferation of HTML5 browsers on mobile phones, it's surprisingly easy to develop a native experience. Even easier for Windows devices considering that HTML/JS is a first class citizen on WP8 and W8. Facebook dropped it's HTML5 client in favor of a native experience because the Safari engine didn't provide the level of performance that the Facebook app needed to run smoothly and fluidly.
      Alleycat5
      • I guess the question becomes

        Will these be using Web.app (i.e. iPhone Web application) or iOS apps that call UIWebViews (i.e. Facebook's original app)? Because the former not gets the advantage of Nitro JIT JS compiling and the latter does not.
        matthew_maurice
  • That doesn't sound so good to me

    '"We believe the Web browser is the great equalizer across all form factors," said Patterson. That's why Microsoft is making sure to make its CRM capabilities accessible via multiple browsers, including Internet Explorer (including IE10), Chrome, Firefox and Safari on PCs and Macs, as of its December 2012 service update for Dynamics CRM.'

    I certainly hope that guy knows what he is doing, because MS should be preoccupied with promoting its platforms as the best application experience platforms, not making them irrelevant by developing experiences in which the platforms do not stand out. MS platforms and services should re-enforce, not undermine each other. Developing browser based solutions seem fine to me, but MS should really be insisting that complementary Windows based solutions are also developed, which are distinctly better. Shooting yourself in the foot because your customers ask you to do so, does not strike me as being wise.
    P. Douglas
  • old fashion

    The logo they are using is too old fashion, it seems to be 80', please learn how apple is creating exciting and surprise to custom, you should give customer sth they didn't experience rather the things had been used for 100 years
    Marsrover11
    • Old Logo and Apple

      Not sure I understand what you are saying (I only speak English, sorry), but it sounds like your biggest beef is that Microsoft is using an old-fashioned logo and that they need to learn how Apple has been bringing some kind of exciting and surprising things to customers.

      This is news to me - last I checked, Apple didn't make CRM software, or really any kind of enterprise software for that matter. This is indeed "exciting and surprising". Please point to what you think are Apple's top 5 CRM innovations.
      daftkey
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