Microsoft to offer new brand of business software

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, reports Reuters.

According to Register, also announced at the summit was Centro, which has been billed by Microsoft as bringing together the planned Longhorn Server operating system and Exchange Server along with security and management capabilities. Microsoft said Centro would provide greater integration, security and automation of specific tasks.

Microsoft, meanwhile, launched Office Small Business Accounting 2006 and Office Small Business Management Edition 2006 to manage sales, marketing and finances inside the Office suite. Small Business Accounting 2006 includes the ability to store frequently entered transactions as templates and manage payroll through Excel. Office Small Business Management Edition 2006 features Office 2003, Business Contact Manager Update, Word and Excel.

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