Microsoft said on Thursday that it is ready with a public beta of the next version of its CRM software, a program for midsize businesses to track their clients.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, as the program is known, can be purchased either as server software or as a hosted service. The current version CRM 4, is available in hosted form from Microsoft only in the U.S. and Canada. With the new release, which is due in final form by the end of the year, Microsoft is expanding the hosted option to more than 40 countries.
In an interview this week, Microsoft Vice President Michael Park said that the new CRM version is designed to add new reporting capabilities and is designed to work better with and more closely resemble Outlook.
Park declined to predict how many more customers this time will opt for the hosted product as opposed to the version customers run on their own servers. "It's hard to tell, and to be honest I don't care as long as the customer is taking it," Park said.
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