Microsoft has offered an explanation to enterprise customers today regarding the pricing difference between US and Australian releases of its latest Dynamics Online CRM suite.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 custom dashboard supports geo-applications (Credit: Microsoft)
Dynamics Online is Microsoft's latest drawcard in the CRM wars, and is offered to Australian customers at an introductory price of $42 per seat per month with a regular price of $54 per seat per month.
US users get the CRM software for an introductory price of US$34 per seat per month, following with a regular price of US$44 per month, meaning that the US gets Dynamics CRM $10 cheaper than Aussie counterparts, despite one Australian dollar sitting at 99.5 US cents to the greenback today.
Microsoft Australia's lead product manager for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Ross Dembecki said at a press briefing today that pricing points for the 2011 release were set in July last year when the Aussie dollar bought 84 US cents.
Global lead for Dynamics CRM Jon Farmer added that the price was calculated based on different factors including market risk analysis.
"We have to balance market-based risk when pricing these sorts of things," Farmer said.
Farmer did say, however, that Microsoft may make the price cheaper in the future compared to the US, meaning the disparity of prices may be closed significantly.
"We don't offer spot pricing [based on the current exchange rates], but repricing may see a lower [price gap] in future," he said.
Dembecki added that when the company was pricing global offerings like Dynamics Online CRM, it was unable to predict international foreign exchange rates at the time, and that it was still cheaper when compared with competitor offerings like Salesforce.com and Oracle's Siebel platform.
This isn't the first time that big companies have presented like-for-like products at different prices to those offered to the US market. Apple launched its Mac App Store this month and charged customers, in some instances, an extra $20 on top of ordinary US prices.
Future Dynamics developments
Microsoft said in its briefing today that it is already considering new features for the next release of the Dynamics platform, indicating that it's considering bold new ways for users to interact with the CRM.
In its statement of direction, Microsoft said that "additional investigation areas for future releases of Microsoft Dynamics CRM include alternative interfaces, devices and gestures to interact with and consume information from your Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution", hinting at possible future support with the Surface 2 table device and the avalanche of tablet devices premiered at CES 2011.
Perhaps we might even see CRM users acting like Tom Cruise in Minority Report.