A sort of announcement..


So was that an announcement or not? I mean Bill Gates on the subject of software as a service (SaaS) - aka 'CRM on demand'. Well, no, not really - despite ill-informed US media claims that he would announce a Microsoft hosted option - but it's the closest he's come to date.

Gates did talk about software as a service as a viable deployment model, although it is clearly a tactical policy rather than full-blown hosting religion a la NetSuite, RightNow or Salesforce.com. And he still ducked the channel conflict issue by leaving it to the partner community to handle this side of the business.

That said, the latest moves with Dynamics CRM makes it a far more 'hosting friendly' offering than ever before. I still maintain that there is no possibility that Microsoft will not end up offering its own hosting service and its partners will end up having to live with the new world order. The only question is how long it will take.

Meanwhile, Bill has more problems on his plate than hosting. The latest delay to the Vista operating system was hardly unexpected, but it is incredibly embarassing. The ousting of the old management team in charge of Windows is frankly long overdue and can surely only help in the future with new releases.

For the ISV and PC markets of course, the delay means a knock on delay in delivering new products, although SAP seems confident enough that it's not going to hinder Mendocino (ironitally the one product that Microsoft could end up privately wishing did slip a bit!). For Microsoft it's going to mean a delay in new revenue streams - it's almost five years since XP came out and the operating stream bottom line could do with a bit of a boost.

So no Vista for now and no hosted CRM from Microsoft for now. Put like that it all sounds a bit negative, but in reality of course it's the phoney war, the calm before the storm and any other cliche that you might like to trot out to suggest that the fun is yet to start.

Click the 'Add your own comment' below to share your thoughts and opinions.

Stuart Lauchlan
News & Analysis Editor
[email protected]

Further reading

  • Software as service healthcare firm prescribes Siebel OnDemand

  • Viewpoint: Marc Benioff on Microsoft 'Live'

  • Gates: Get ready for software as service sea change

  • The changing CRM landscape according to AMR Research
  • About mycustomer.newsdesk


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    By nhanzer
    31st Mar 2006 21:47

    The world is changing and Microsofts world needs to change quickly. Ironically Microsofts fat is making it become the slow and not so agile organisation like the company was that gave it the big leg up, IBM all those years ago.
    Microsofts route to market via its partner channel must have their VAR's waiting for the big announcement and a wind of change from licence renewals. Interesting as the prof serv side is starting to grow at Microsoft, so just need the products to deliver and be stable. This CRM space is looking interesting where the integration of channel, marketing (customer) and finance will be imperative - SAP is looking pretty for those with more dollars than cents, so who'll be emerging bottom up in the market; delivering value...who's eating dogfood?

    Thanks (0)
    31st Mar 2006 14:44

    "... there is no possibility that Microsoft will not end up offering its own hosting (CRM) service" - They had better hurry-up! I see Google just bought www.writely.com - Is this the opening shot in the SaaS assault on the MS Word and Office generally? With Vista delayed, MacOS on Intel chips, and Mozilla Firefox web browser replacing IE6 on 30% of European PCs, and the Apple iTunes/QuickTime media gaining rapidly on WindowsMedia, Microsoft must feel besieged!

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