The battle for market share in the SME customer relationship management (CRM) sector is gathering momentum, as the UK launch of Microsoft's CRM suite draws closer.
Earlier this month Sage's CRM division told vnunet.com's sister title Computer Reseller News of its plans to plug the gap in the SME market with its ACT! and Saleslogix products.
But Sage claimed it would not be competing with Microsoft, which will operate at the higher end of the mid-market.
However, the Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) division has retaliated, saying it will be well and truly gunning for market share in the SME sector.
Dean Carroll, business development manager at MBS, said: "Our core focus is the SME sector and we are obviously in competition with Sage.
"There are plenty of established players in the market already, but so far they have penetrated only 10 per cent of the total SME CRM market, so there is a real opportunity for us and our resellers.
"Our implementation partners are key to advising business customers on best practice with CRM."
Jon Van Duyne, managing director of Sage CRM solutions, said: "The products we offer are long-established in the CRM space. Microsoft's entry will expand the market and we are confident we will capture a lot of new business.
"However, there are plenty of opportunities out there for both companies."
Alex Tatham, vice-president, global software distribution at Ideal, said: "CRM is going to be a very interesting product, and Microsoft CRM products are aimed at SMEs from the mid-range all the way down.
"It is a massive opportunity for Microsoft partners, although Microsoft still has a lot of work to do."
Simon Wright, director at Microsoft service provider Ezeehelp, said: "Sage was very successful at capturing market share very early on, and Siebel is looking at getting into the hosting space, but many CRM vendors are nervous about Microsoft's launch."
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