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Microsoft Unveils Cloud-Based CRM 2011

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Microsoft's decision to debut its CRM 2011 solution in the cloud prior its on-premise release is a sign of the times. Stuart Johnston reports.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced commercial availability of the company's next generation customer relationship management (CRM) cloud services offering yesterday, and plans to launch customer-premises and partner-hosted editions of the package on Thursday.

Never before has Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) made one of its online services available to customers in the cloud — i.e., hosted in Microsoft's data centers — prior to its availability as customer-premise or third-party hosted offerings.

The move is an example of Ballmer's commitment last year that the company is "all in" on cloud computing.

"This is the first time we've made a release in the cloud before we have done so in the server version, and I think that really reflects the push by Microsoft into the cloud," Ballmer said in a statement.

In fact, Microsoft's Dynamics CRM Online service is based on Microsoft's Dynamics CRM 2011 package, which is set for its own launch on Thursday.

While the online version is available now, both the partner-hosted and customer on-premises editions of Dynamics CRM 2011 will not be available worldwide until Feb. 28, the company said.

Read the rest at eCRMguide.

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