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Microsoft seeks to lure Salesforce, Oracle users with six months free of CRM Online

On the heels of yesterday's price cut for a number of Microsoft-hosted enterprise cloud service offerings, the company is introducing a "free for six months" deal, in the hopes of attracting Salesforce.com and Oracle CRM On Demand users.

Microsoft is getting more aggressive on pricing, in response to its competitors in the enterprise cloud application space.

On the heels of yesterday's price cut for a number of Microsoft-hosted enterprise cloud service offerings, Microsoft is introducing a "free for six months" deal, in the hopes of attracting Salesforce.com and Oracle CRM On Demand users. The company also made all versions of its hosted  CRM offerings available for $44 per user per month (which includes offline support and 5 GB of storage). To qualify, customers must sign up by December 31, 2009.

(Just prior to today's pricing announcement, Microsoft offered two versions of CRM Online: Professional (which was already $44 per user per month, and Professional Plus, which was $59 per user per month. Starting today, Microsoft is condensing these two into a single version that will have all the features of Professional Plus -- including the offline Outlook access -- and selling that single version for $44 per user per month.)

Here's the competitive pricing chart Microsoft is touting as part of the new promotion:

More fine print around the six-months-free offer: The deal is good in the U.S. and Canada only. Users must have a minimum of five seats and a maximum of two-times the number of seats subscribed to under Oracle or Salesforce. After six months, the price goes to $44 per user per month for 12 months.

Microsoft announced the new promotion on November 3. Microsoft also began rolling out today the November 2009 service update for Dynamics CRM Online, its third update in the past 18 months. The rollout will be complete by November 15, company officials said.

The update includes several new features, which existing customers get for free, including:

  • Enhanced data import via an "Import Data Wizard"
  • A new "Get Started" pane providing guidance, training and access to Knowledge Base articles
  • Faster online access. Users can get started with a trial or paid subscription to CRM Online in less than five minutes, according to Microsoft
  • Free mobile access for any device running an HTML 4.0-compliant browser

I'd be interested in hearing from Oracle and Salesforce users if the new Microsoft deal and pricing is tempting -- and if not, why not.

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