September 7, 2005

Microsoft Unveils New Brand of Business Software

SEATTLE (Reuters) -- Microsoft Corp. will introduce a line of software products on Wednesday for mid-sized businesses using technology it acquired as part of its strategy to sell more software to companies with fewer than 500 employees.

The world's largest software maker, which is making a major marketing push for its business software to customers at its Redmond, Washington, headquarters, said its new brand "Microsoft Dynamics" will include applications for managing customer contacts, financial tasks, human resources and other jobs.

"This is a space that we see as critical to our vision," said Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.

The new brand will include an assortment of existing products at Microsoft, including applications that the company got when it acquired the software companies Great Plains and Navision for more than $2 billion a few years ago.

Over the next year, Microsoft said it will launch new versions of business software products under the "Dynamics" brand. For example, the next version of Microsoft's customer relationship management (CRM) program will be sold as Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft also unveiled a separate product code-named "Centro" on Wednesday, server software that will allow mid-sized businesses to set up, manage and maintain corporate networks.

Microsoft has been investing heavily in software for small- and mid-sized businesses, a highly fragmented market that is expected to spend more than $185 billion on software and information technology services over the next four years.

Microsoft is betting that it will be able to capture at least $10 billion of that business by 2010 and add to slowing growth in its core businesses.