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Microsoft vows to bark like a dog for you in 2008

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Presiding over a demonstration of the upcoming, hosted edition of Microsoft's Dynamics CRM, Turner unveiled two editions plus a planned market place to try and tempt wavering partners and customers away from Salesforce.com, whose PR and marketing has dominated the airwaves and mindshare war.

Turner announced Dynamics Live CRM Enterprise Edition which will be priced at $59 per user per month and Dynamics Live CRM Professional Edition at $44 per user per month. Additionally Microsoft plans a market place for partners to post applications that can be downloaded for deployment with Dynamics Live CRM. Importantly for partners, Dynamics Live CRM is customizable and customers can only join Microsoft's early adopter program through partners - earlier this year Ballmer caused disquiet saying partners stood to be "disintermediated" by Dynamics Live CRM.

The market place is a valuable component in Microsoft's strategy of building an ecosystem of companies capable of adding value to Dynamics Live CRM through plug ins - emulating AppExchange from Saleforce.com.

While admitting Microsoft is slow to ondemand, Turner gently chastised partners for "not getting" that services are the future for their businesses.

"[Software and services] was hardest to accept for Microsoft. Now we are full steam ahead. We have to change faster internally than the World is changing, or we'll be obsolete," Turner said. "The customer wants the choice [between onsite and ondemand]. We will help you and work with you. But the change is going to happen."

Turner predicted Microsoft's barley thought out and technologically incomplete Office Live service would - within the next five years - become one of the company's most important lines of business. In other words, earning millions of dollars per quarter. "In two to three years Office Live will be the most deployed, most utilized of all the products we have in the portfolio."

Turner told partners they had to be prepared to pick sides in an world where the lines of competition are blurring. "We will bump into Symantec, Cisco and SAP, but we are going to compete to win... we are going to compete fairly and respectfully." Tackling Linux, and referencing a recent IDC server survey that showed - for the first time in nearly 10 years Windows revenue outgrew Linux - Turner claimed Microsoft is overcoming "the perception of free when we know it's not free" to take market share.®

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