In the Microsoft vs Salesforce war, there is a new leader. I have been in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM/365 space for over 14 years. Ever since I can remember Salesforce led most analysts’ reports on CRM/Sales Force Automation. There are a few key reasons why:
- Salesforce.com was launched in 1999, Microsoft released Dynamics CRM in 2003. This allowed them to build market share and product maturity which Microsoft has struggled with ever since.
- Early versions of Microsoft CRM were clunky, difficult to use and lacked key functionality. The user interface was challenging in versions 1.2, 3, 4 and 2011, it was finally overhauled in version 2013.
- Salesforce built Force.com, a platform as a service that allows developers to develop add-on applications that integrate with Salesforce.com. In 2013 Force.com had 1.4 million registered developers and a full library of add-on solutions. Microsoft has struggled to compete with Force.com.
- Salesforce launched AppExchange in 2005 which is an application marketplace for 3rd-party applications that run on the Force.com platform. AppExchange has over 3000 applications and has had over 2.8 million installations of apps.
- Market Share – Salesforce.com has been the clear leader in market share (somewhere around 45% vs Microsoft’s 10% (Source: 2016 CRM Market Share report by CRMsearch).
About a year ago I mistakenly ended up sitting in the private analyst seating area at a very large Microsoft conference. I heard some talk about “leap frogging” and had a conversation with two industry analysts. They predicted that Microsoft would leapfrog Salesforce.com within a year. They felt that the pace of innovation on the Dynamics 365 platform and Microsoft’s faster machine learning and artificial intelligence go-to-market would propel them to the lead spot. They were spot on as Forrester names Microsoft the leader in Sales Force Automation (July 2017).