Microsoft is taking a play from automakers as it tries to stoke demand for its enterprise applications--zero percent financing. The company said Thursday that it will offer zero percent financing for 36 months to Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM software.
The fact that technology vendors are increasingly getting into financing isn't all that surprising. Customers can't get credit and companies like IBM and Cisco are offering financing. On Cisco's latest earnings conference call, CFO Frank Calderoni said the company is getting more inquiries from customers about its financing business. All of these big vendors say they are managing risk well and their customers are creditworthy, but it's unclear whether these financing efforts can prop up enterprise demand.
Also see: Tech financing: Are defaults becoming a worry?
A longer term theme--and one that we're not going to worry about today given the economy is imploding--will be focused on whether cheap vendor financing will stoke an artificial IT buying bubble. Think about all the folks that bought cars just because financing was cheap. It was very hard to wean consumers off those deals.
Microsoft said in a statement that its financing plan is available to Dynamics customers who approved by the software giant's financing arm for purchases of $20,000 to $1 million.
Microsoft added the company is "working closely with our customers and partners to proactively enable them to preserve their capital resources to ride out the current economic situation." That's shorthand for saying ERP projects are all stripes are frozen right now whether it's the smaller companies the favor Dynamics or the behemoths that favor SAP.
Among the notable points of the financing deal:
- The zero percent financing applies to licensing and first-year enhancement costs on Microsoft Dynamics (all flavors).
- Additional costs--consultants, customization, non-Microsoft software--will be financed at regular rates.
- The financing is available in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.