Microsoft announced the upcoming release of their newest customer relationship management module, CRM 3.0, at the Microsoft Tech·Ed 2005 Europe conference in Amsterdam this week, and plans on making a U.S. announcement at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Minneapolis later this month.

"There are three legs in the CRM stool -- marketing, sales and service," said Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft CRM. "This one is the marketing leg - we've always had sales and service modules. There has been a ton of effort in this release for a great user experience in Outlook with 50 percent less clicks to get things done."

Other notable features for the new CRM application include the ability to work in 23 different languages and to work offline, seamless integration with Excel, the ability to show pivot tables, and a choice between renting or buying the product. The newest MS CRM will allow customers to choose between a new subscription-based licensing for the hosted CRM product, or purchasing a desktop version license from a value-added reseller or independent software vendor. Version 3.0 will be available for general resale in the first quarter of next year.

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