Microsoft is offering a rebate for any customer who switches from Salesforce.com to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, as the business cloud battle continues to escalate.
Microsoft took a hard swipe at Salesforce.com Dec. 6, in another sign that
the traditionally desktop-bound company is upping its aggressiveness in the
In "An Open Letter to Salesforce.com Customers," Microsoft dangles
a $200-per-user rebate for any organization that switches from Salesforce to
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. A special
Microsoft Website also aggressively targets Salesforce's perceived
"In making the switch from other solutions, such as Salesforce.com,"
Michael Park, a corporate vice president with Microsoft Business Solutions,
wrote in that Dec. 6 missive, "you will join thousands of companies that
have found that Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Online is easier to use, adds value to the technology investments they've
already made and delivers greater business insight."
Throughout 2010, Salesforce and Microsoft have routinely found themselves at
each other's throat. Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Salesforce in May,
alleging infringement of nine patents. In turn, Salesforce countered with its
own lawsuit in June, accusing Redmond
of violating five patents. The companies apparently settled their differences
in August, with Salesforce agreeing to compensate Microsoft for its patents.
According to one analyst at the time, those lawsuits' effects on Salesforce
could be long-lasting. "It means that Salesforce will likely have to
change aspects of future products so they don't infringe on critical areas,"
Rob Enderle, principal analyst of the Enderle Group, wrote in an e-mail to
eWEEK. "Microsoft gets some money (likely not material) and enhances their
reputation as a company not to be lightly messed with."
Nonetheless, Salesforce.com CEO Marc
Benioff claims that his company's model of cloud-delivered software remains
superior to Microsoft's current offerings. During
an Oct. 19 keynote talk at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2010
, he questioned
his rival's ability to keep businesses up-to-date with their applications'
latest versions: "How many SAP
customers are on the current version?" he asked the audience. "How
many Oracle customers ... how many Microsoft? Fractions. This model has to
In response to Salesforce and other cloud-based companies, and in order to
actualize on its much-touted "all in" cloud strategy, Microsoft has
been pushing the online version of its CRM-often
offering add-ons and services at no additional cost, in order to better appeal
to cash-strapped businesses.
In addition to online CRM, Microsoft's
other business-centric cloud initiatives include Office 365
, which groups
Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online as a
subscription service. Microsoft released Office 365 in limited beta launch Oct.
19, with general availability expected in 2011.
In addition to Salesforce, Microsoft
is competing in the cloud arena against other heavy hitters like Google
which recently secured a contract to provide Gmail and Google Apps to the
General Services Administration.