Over the next 12 months, Microsoft plans to release five new sets of business applications, adding to the bookkeeping software it already sells through its Great Plains division.
One set is aimed at helping service companies better use their employees time and skills. Another set is designed to help retailers track inventory and gather point-of-sale information. Microsoft gained the latter set of applications in May with the acquisition of Sales Management Systems.
The third, as previously reported, is customer relationship management (CRM) software intended to help companies track their sales, marketing and service activities.
In the first half of 2003, the company plans to introduce business portal software, an application that arranges on the desktop the software that employees regularly use. Microsoft also plans to release software that will allow companies to exchange data over the Internet with business partners and customers.
Microsoft has its eye on the so-called midmarket, which it defines as companies with between $1 million and $1 billion in annual revenue.