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Microsoft buys analytics firm Netbreeze, readies CRM updates

Microsoft has acquired social-monitioring analytics vendor Netbreeze and is readying the next two updates to its Dynamics CRM platform, officials announce at the Convergence conference.

Microsoft has acquired Netbreeze, an analytics company whose social-monitoring tools Microsoft plans to integrate with its CRM offerings.

Microsoft officials made the acquisition announcement on the opening day of the company's annual Convergence CRM/ERP conference in New Orleans. Microsoft executives declined to discuss the price or other particulars of the purchase.

The Softies also shed light on the next two updates to its Dynamics CRM offerings during the keynote presentation.

The first update, code-named "Gemini," will be an updated version of the MarketingPilot marketing-automation technology that Microsoft acquired last fall when it bought MarketingPilot. The new version, known as MarketingPilot 15, will feature a simplified user experience and robust business-intelligence functionality, allowing users to plan and track customer interactions across digital, social, and traditional marketing channels. A connector that will integrate MarketingPilot with Dynamics CRM will be available simultaneously.

The new version of MarketingPilot will be available to U.S. customers in March, with international availability coming later this year.

The second update to Dynamics CRM will be out in the second half of 2013, officials confirmed today. This update, code-named "Orion," will include the promised local CRM applications for Windows 8 and iPads, according to Microsoft officials.

Microsoft executives also talked today about some of the future updates coming on the Dynamics ERP side of the house. Officials said to expect updates for Dynamics AX 2012 in the fourth quarter of 2013 that will include new "companion" applications for phones and tablets. (Specifically, the companion apps will be available for Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, Android Phone, and iOS phone devices.)

There will be an expense-management app, a time-sheet app, and an approval app (for budget requests, time sheets, expense reports, and so on). Additionally, Microsoft is developing a native Windows RT tablet Point of Sales (POS) and a Windows Phone 8 Mobile POS app for retailers. Officials said Microsoft is also releasing documentation for its mobile application programming interfaces so customers and partners can build their own mobile apps.

On the cloud front, Microsoft officials reiterated their commitment to make Dynamics GP 2013 and Dynamics NAV 2013 available as Windows Azure-hosted offerings, which will be available through partners. Both of these will be available in June 2013, Microsoft executives said at Convergence today. An Azure-hosted version of Dynamics AX will be out later, with customer preview versions of both the cloud-hosted and on-premises versions of the next major Dynamics AX release starting in 2014, officials said.

This story originally appeared on ZDNet under the headline "Microsoft readies next two CRM updates; acquires analytics vendor Netbreeze."