Microsoft Takes On Salesforce

The world's biggest software company plans to directly challenge the leader in online customer-relationship management programs

As growth slowed in recent years at Microsoft's Office division, which specializes in such business productivity applications as e-mail and spreadsheet creation, the software company looked for opportunities in other areas. Customer-relationship management (CRM) software seemed an ideal candidate. The programs help sales staff track leads and fit well with the contact lists and calendar applications in Office's Outlook program.

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