Microsoft Offering Zero-percent Financing for ERP, CRM

Hoping to spark sales as companies put the squeeze on capital spending, Microsoft said Thursday that new customers of its Dynamics ERP and CRM applications in some parts of the world can apply for zero-percent, 36-month financing.

The deal, through Microsoft Financing, is good on purchases costing between US$20,000 and $1 million. It applies to licensing and "first-year enhancement costs" on Dynamics NAV, AX, GP, and SL, as well as Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft is also offering standard financing rates on other ownership expenses, such as partner services and customization work.

The zero-percent promotion is available in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland.

While Microsoft's offer is for a limited time, it hasn't set an end date, according to a spokeswoman at the company's public relations firm. The offer does not apply to Dynamics CRM Online, which is sold by subscription, she added.

Microsoft's move fits into a recent trend, reported by The Wall Street Journal, where vendors lend more money to customers.

But one industry observer questioned whether Microsoft's move will have a major impact on sales.

"I'd be stunned if that really influences anyone," AMR Research analyst Bruce Richardson. "I think it gets your attention and maybe you take a look at [Dynamics] if you're thinking about that versus Salesforce."

Price is only one part of choosing a software package, according to Richardson. Customers also must weigh things like the amount of training users will need, or the logistics of importing legacy data to the new system, he said.

Richardson compared the Microsoft offer to the zero-percent financing deals frequently offered by the likes of General Motors. It's not as if customers base their decision solely on the fact they'll save money, as opposed to the car or truck's features, he said. "You have to really want that GM vehicle."

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