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Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace In Beta

Microsoft is quietly building out a partner catalog in the two-week-old Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace, a beta version of Microsoft's answer to the Salesforce.com AppExchange.

Microsoft announced at its Worldwide Partner Conference in July that it would be launching the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace in September. A Microsoft spokesperson said the intention all along was to launch a beta in September, not the full-fledged portal for customer-partner connections.

"Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace went into beta on Sept. 16 and is a searchable repository of custom solutions and extensions to help accelerate and/or extend the value of Microsoft Dynamics. This beta is an important milestone on the road to the final delivery of the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace service later this year and available in English and German in eight countries including the United States, the U.K., Canada, India, Australia, Germany, Switzerland and Austria," the spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement.

"Today customers have the ability to discover, download and try applications as well as directly connect with partners and service providers if they decide to purchase an application. We are also encouraging partners to sign up to be part of this service as well as upload their solutions onto this service to give customers a broad choice of solutions to meet their specific business needs when the service goes live," the spokesperson said.

There is measurable momentum within the Dynamics Marketplace beta, which the company announced to partners and customers on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Team Blog on Sept. 20. We've heard Microsoft has been driving Dynamics ISVs hard to get their CRM applications listed. We've also heard from partners that Microsoft's push will extend to the ERP channel sometime after the first of the year.

For now, text on the beta homepage is currently entirely CRM-focused: "The Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace is an online service from Microsoft to help you: Get expert help to deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Find a service provider to host and manage your CRM solutions. Discover applications tailored for your individual business needs."

Customers will be able to search broadly for applications, professional services or companies. As of Sept. 30, the beta's directory included 233 application listings, 413 professional services offerings and 392 company listings.

Although the CRM Team Blog announcing the beta points users to www.microsoft.com/dynamics/marketplace, the page redirects to a Pinpoint URL (dynamics.pinpoint.microsoft.com). According to the beta site's About section, "The Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace is the first of several product marketplaces to rollout in 2010 and 2011 that will be powered by Pinpoint search engines." So, love Pinpoint or hate it, that's what runs the new Dynamics Marketplace.

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 30, 2010 at 11:58 AM