Mary Jo Foley posted the following on her "All About Microsoft" blog today:
Microsoft puts the final touches on a new, Vista-optimized CRM
Even though Microsoft officials have been touting the thousands of new applications in the pipeline that will be optimized for Windows Vista (and Office 2007). so far there've been details on almost none of them.
On November 6, however, Microsoft broke the cone of silence by announcing that it will roll out a new version of its Dyanmics CRM product "at the same time as the 2007 Office release" (and ultimately in 18 differnt languages). This is a previously unannounced release that will precede Dynamics CRM 4.0, also known as "CRM Live" and code-named "Titan," which is due to ship in the first half of 2007.
(Guess it would have been poor form for Microsoft to allow other CRM rivals to beat its own CRM unit to the punch in support of its own operating system and desktop suite.)
Microsoft is describing this as a refresh of the existing 3.0 release. The update, which Microsoft is calling "Microsoft CRM 3.0 for Office 2007/Vista," will be available "approximately two weeks or so after the release of those products." I guess that means January/February 2007.
New features and functionality in the new Microsoft CRM product will include:
- Use of the Office 2007-style ribbon user interface
- Use of richer data visualization and business intelligence that are baked into Excel 2007
- Support for Vista gadgets, so that Dynamics CRM activities and alerts can be placed directly onto a Vista desktop or home page
- Integration with Exchange Server 2007, a member of the Office 2007 extended family, so that the new Microsoft CRM will allow users to store voice mail messages and track them automatically
- Support for BitLocker drive encryption.
Microsoft also is broadening the licensing options under which it will sell the new CRM release, officials said. Users get a choice of concurrent ("Business Ready") or modular licensing, officials said.