Ballmer To Show Off Microsoft CRM Live

Microsoft CRM Live

Brad Wilson, general manager of Dynamics CRM, will do the honors during Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's keynote Wednesday afternoon.

Microsoft CRM Live, which shares the same underlying code base as the upcoming partner-hosted and on-premise versions of Microsoft CRM, has been tested by a select group of partners since January.

The first customers are due to go live with CRM Live in the third quarter, Wilson told CRN. The Redmond, Wash., company had been aiming for a summertime launch.

The on-premises and partner-hosted bits are slated for release in the fourth quarter, he said.

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Wilson said the Microsoft-hosted edition, which runs on Microsoft's Windows Live data center, will enable VARs and development partners to customize and even clone applications that can be built once and sold again and again.

Such application cloning has become one of NetSuite's claims to fame for its hosted ERP suite. CRM-as-a-service leader also is positioning its AppExchange as the de facto development platform for partner-created vertical and specialized applications, all of which are available only in the hosted model.

Microsoft aims to sell its wares under a potential rent-to-own scenario. "For some customers who are not sure if they want software or a service because of capital budgeting, they can get it now as on-demand and stay that way forever or move to on-premise," Wilson said.

"VARs can create reusable [intellectual property], which becomes the standard templated IP, and clone the application. They can create once and sell it 50 times," he added.

However, partners won't be able to brand their CRM Live implementations. The vehicle for partner-labeled CRM applications and services will be via the partner-hosted version, Wilson said.

CRM Live pricing likely will be disclosed at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in July, Wilson said.

CRM Live will interoperate with Office Live applications, but it doesn't run on that infrastructure per se, according to Wilson. Users will have single sign-on for both sets of applications, he said.

Wilson was slated to have shown off CRM Live on his own at Convergence until Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie intervened and said the demonstration should be part of Ballmer's show-ending keynote.