Integrated Aggravation

Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2 breaks current Microsoft CRM 1.2 applications, and solution providers must update both the CRM Sales server and Outlook clients to work around the issue.

While it was known that the Windows XP update, which Microsoft says will ship this month, will cause problems with some custom applications, it was somewhat surprising that it is breaking relatively recent, out-of-the-box Microsoft applications as well.

>> CRM 1.2 Sales server and Outlook client must be updated and tweaked to run Win XP update.

A posting to Microsoft's download site tells solution providers to update both CRM 1.2 Sales server and Outlook client when deploying SP2. Older Microsoft CRM 1.0 customers must update to the 1.2 release and then apply the workarounds, a spokeswoman said. Microsoft has said 2,500 companies are using Microsoft CRM.

Some Microsoft partners, speaking on condition of anonymity, characterized the latest breakage as "embarrassing" and "a pain."

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"It's a big deal," conceded one Microsoft Gold certified partner. He acknowledged that Microsoft is helping spread the word about the workaround to make it function right, but "I would hope that in the future the company will coordinate between the Windows and apps groups in a tighter manner to avoid these things," he said.

Ben Holtz, president of Green Beacon, a CRM service provider in Watertown, Mass., however, shrugged off the CRM-SP2 glitch. "We just have to advise our customers not to install SP2 until fixes are made," he said.

That advice is somewhat contrary to Microsoft's goal of getting customers to deploy SP2 as quickly as possible after it ships.

Allen Kahn, co-CEO of InterDyn, Microsoft Business Solutions partner in New York, said the workarounds are fairly straightforward.

The upside of Microsoft's integrated innovation game plan, if properly implemented, is there are tight ties between the operating system, infrastructure such as Active Directory and applications. The downside, Kahn said, is that problems in one piece of the technology puzzle can ripple throughout.

"From our perspective, if things work properly, it's like what happened with Office. When they first put Word, Excel and Outlook together, there were hiccups, but when they finally got it done right, Office completely changed the market," Kahn said.

For more on SP 2, see CRN.