Microsoft CRM Release Pushed Back

Microsoft moves deadline for general availability from end of year to early 2003.

Microsoft Corp. will not make its planned end-of-year deadline for general availability of the first version of its Microsoft CRM suite, company officials acknowledged Wednesday.

The customer relationship management software, which will be at least initially targeted at the small-to-medium business segment, remains in final testing of the Release Candidate 1 (RC1) stage and will shortly move to RC2. But general availability is now slated for "early 2003," according to a company spokeswoman.

"They anticipate gathering final feedback in January, with release to manufacturing and general availability following completion of testing," the spokeswoman said.

A second iteration, Version 1.1, is planned for the second half of next year, the spokeswoman said, and will not be pushed back because of this initial delay.

Microsoft CRM 1.0 will include sales and customer service applications, with marketing applications limited to basic e-mail marketing, though more extensive marketing capabilities are planned in future releases.

Customization capabilities, while easy to use, will also be limited, and integration with Microsofts Great Plains and Navision business applications will likely not be completed before 2005.