Microsoft Business Solutions announced the general availability in North America of Microsoft Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 1.2, the first scheduled release to Microsoft's flagship CRM offering since it was launched in January 2003. Microsoft CRM 1.2 builds on the existing business productivity functionality available in Microsoft CRM 1.0 and enhances usability and performance for customers using the new version. This release also marks the global expansion of Microsoft CRM, which will be available in nine languages and more than 47 geographies around the world.

By offering quick and easy access to current customer-based information, Microsoft CRM 1.2 empowers employees across a business to build and maintain the lasting, profitable relationships required to succeed in today's competitive marketplace. Microsoft CRM 1.2 supports Microsoft Windows Server System 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office 2003 and, for small businesses, Microsoft Small Business Server. These technologies offer the security enhancements, availability, scalability and reliability businesses need from their operating system, servers and productivity tools. And with easy setup, customization and use, Microsoft CRM delivers a lower cost of ownership, providing a positive impact on the customer's bottom line.

"I was hoping to achieve a positive ROI in six to 12 months, but it wasn't even close," said Sam Lloyd, president of AAA Mortgage. "Microsoft CRM paid for itself in less than a month, when you consider increased productivity, increased profitability per transaction and reduced turn times." Microsoft Business Solutions has made functionality enhancements to Microsoft CRM 1.2, enabling businesses to more efficiently develop relationships with new customers and strengthen relationships with existing customers. Enhancements, including additional data evaluation capabilities and further support for lead tracking and sales territory effectiveness, were incorporated into the solution's workflow capabilities. Enhancements to the user interface will improve usability and increase flexibility. Improvements have been made to simplify the setup and installation of Microsoft CRM. In addition, developers now have greater ability to customize Microsoft CRM Sales for Outlook.

"Microsoft CRM has what it takes to succeed in today's highly competitive CRM segment: adoption by an expanding customer base, distribution through a worldwide reseller channel, and support from the largest software provider today," said Karen Smith, research director with the Aberdeen Group Inc. "In the space of just a year, Microsoft CRM 1.0 has won 1,000 CRM customers. There is no escaping the fact that Microsoft CRM is a growing tsunami in the CRM space."

Microsoft CRM 1.2 was designed specifically for small and midsize businesses and divisions and departments of large organizations, and is accessible from Microsoft Outlook and the Web. It is easy to use, customize and maintain; it integrates with other business systems, which helps drive return on investment; and it scales to grow with the needs of the customer's business.

Microsoft CRM 1.2 is available in North America and has been released to manufacturing in eight additional languages. It will be generally available worldwide in the first quarter of calendar year 2004.

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