Microsoft has been aggressively courting CRM users this week. First, they announced price cuts to their online productivity suite, and yesterday they lowered prices on their Dynamics CRM Online product. In addition to slashing prices, Microsoft is offering six months of free Dynamics CRM usage to Salesforce.com’s and Oracle’s CRM users.
The Business Productivity Suite, a SaaS offering, adopted a new pricing model and is now at $10 per user instead of $15 per user; Microsoft executives are attributing the discount to the recent increase in users. The suite includes Exchange Online (a messaging service), SharePoint Online, Live Meeting, and Office Communications Online, and was updated this month to increase mailbox storage space to 25 GB. In addition to price cuts, the Business Productivity Suite’s availability will be extended to Brazil, Hungary, Israel, and Mexico, to name a few.
The fight for the cloud application space doesn’t stop there: from now until the end of the year, customers of Salesforce.com and Oracle CRM can sign up for a free, six-month trial of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Before announcing the offering, Microsoft also combined their two CRM Online offerings—Professional and Professional Plus—into one version that has all the features of the latter, but the price of the former: $44 per user per month. There are some stipulations with the free-trial offer: users must be in the US or Canada, and have a minimum of five seats and a maximum of two-times the number of seats subscribed to under Salesforce or Oracle. When the six-month pilot lapses, subscribers will be charged $44 per user per month.
Sweetening the deal a bit, Microsoft has also given Dynamics CRM Online a service update this month (its third in 18 months), featuring enhanced data import and free mobile access. It will be interesting to see how Salesforce and Oracle respond, and especially if the trial and price cuts will indeed draw customers from those companies.