Will Microsoft's announcement of a year-long gestation for its upcoming online CRM offering hurt or help players Salesforce.com, SAP and Oracle?
On one hand, SMBs planning an implementation of one of Microsoft's competitors' online CRM services may find the news compelling enough to delay the decision, given the expected interoperability advantages. But if some analysts are correct in predictions that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live won't launch for about two years, the fortunes of the Salesforce.com crowd should continue to rise. Remember, the hosted CRM market grew 30 percent in 2005 (vs. less than 14 percent for the total CRM market).
Microsoft's strengths: It can handle both the hot SMB market and the enterprise market, and it's entering at a time when competitive pricing and open source options are bringing many more data-hungry customers to the CRM table.