Microsoft to rebrand 'CRM Live' as 'CRM Online'

As part of its ongoing (and much-needed) attempt to clarify its online-services branding, Microsoft is renaming its "Dynamics CRM Live" product as "Dynamics CRM Online."

As part of its ongoing (and much-needed) attempt to clarify its online-services branding, Microsoft is renaming its "Dynamics CRM Live" product as "Dynamics CRM Online."

Microsoft is planning to announce the new name in the next 24 hours, company officials said on March 27.

The move by Microsoft makes sense, given the naming scheme that is slowly but surely taking shape as part of the company's Software+Services (S+S) push. Microsoft is attempting to categorize its services wares into one of three buckets:

  • "Live" refers to consumer and very-low-end small-business offerings. Examples: Windows Live Messenger, Office Live Workspace.
  • "Online" refers to small-/mid-size and enterprise services that are hosted by Microsoft in its own datacenter. Examples: Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and now Dynamics CRM Online.
  • "Hosted services" refer to Microsoft offerings that are hosted by its integration/reseller partners at the partners' facilities. Examples: Exchange Hosted Services, SharePoint Hosting Services.

Until now, Microsoft has been referring to the Microsoft-hosted version of its CRM 4.0 product as Dynamics CRM Live. But given that Microsoft has made it plain that it is going to offer Microsoft-hosted versions of many of its business products to not just large, enterprise customers, but to SMBs, as well, the CRM Live name just didn't make a lot of sense.

Microsoft is planning to offer "open access" to all versions of the newly rechristened CRM Online product this spring. The company released the final version of the on-premise and partner-hostable CRM 4.0 bits in December 2007.

Some of Microsoft's 10,000 Dynamics partners are none too happy about Microsoft's bold moves into hosting its own business wares, claiming they thought they'd have more time before Microsoft jumped into the market. During a recent call with financial analysts, Microsoft Business Solutions Corporate Vice President Kirill Tatarinov told Wall Streeters that Microsoft is still going to pay partners 10 percent when they sell customers the Microsoft-hosted version of CRM.