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Microsoft Strengthens Shift Toward Industry Focus

Microsoft Corp. has made 5,000 industry platforms available through two tools--Microsoft Solution Finder and Microsoft Industry Builder--the company said Thursday.

Microsoft Solution Finder, an online directory, allows Microsoft Dynamics partners, developers, and customers to search through more than 220,000 Microsoft Certified Partners by industry, geography, or Microsoft product.

The directory gives customers and partners access to more than 5,000 solutions. About 2,000 are tightly integrated with Microsoft Dynamics business management applications, including financial management, customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain, and Microsoft Retail Management System.

Microsoft's shift toward specific industries demonstrates a significant change in strategy. "We invest millions of dollars every year, and now more than half is being aligned through vertical marketing efforts for partners," said Craig McCollum, vice president of worldwide sales strategy for the Microsoft Business Solutions group. "This is a significant shift for us, because two years ago we weren't doing that at all."

Each product is validated with two customer references to ensure quality, McCollum said. "We call the references to confirm they are using the products," he said. "Then we turn on the solution within the tool for others to use."

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