Microsoft Serves SugarCRM
SugarCRM and Microsoft have entered into a technical partnership to increase interoperability between Microsoft's Windows Server and SugarCRM's products. The move means SugarCRM is the first open source apps vendor to adopt the Microsoft Community License, which allows users to view, modify, and redistribute open code. It also ensures that any larger work distributed as a single file is included under the same license. It is part of the Microsoft Shared Source Initiative, a program through which Microsoft shares source code with customers, partners, and governments.
Both companies will begin working on enhancing SugarCRM's software for Microsoft's Windows Server, Internet Information Services, and SQL Server. SugarCRM also will release a new Sugar Suite distribution model under the Microsoft Community License with Sugar Suite 4.5, which is scheduled to be available in May or June, according to the company.
John Roberts, chairman and CEO of SugarCRM, considers the partnership a smart move to expand his company's product line; about 35 percent of SugarCRM's customer base currently runs on Microsoft Windows Server. "I think everybody knows the majority of our customers deploy our software on Linux servers," he says. "While we're still full steam ahead with those developments, we're now also taking advantage of a new distribution license that's optimized for the Windows Server. We're opening open source to Windows users."
Roberts also says the partnership will improve deployment times and lower overall costs for those customers already using SugarCRM products on Windows Server. "We're allowing our customers to capitalize on their existing Windows infrastructure," he says. "In addition, the simplified language contained within the Microsoft Community License also provides a straightforward licensing option that meets the needs of our mutual customers."
There are about 450 current customers, and the partnership has the potential to increase that number significantly, says Laurie McCabe, vice president of SMB insight and business solutions at AMI-Partners. "A lot of SMBs that SugarCRM has been targeting over the years have a lot more familiarity with [the] Microsoft Windows platform than with Linux," she says. "I think that's great for the customers. They won't have to run on a platform that they're not as familiar with."
As for Microsoft, some feel the announcement might indicate that Redmond is warming up to open source software. This agreement follows a similar relationship between Microsoft and open source Java middleware vendor Jboss in September 2005. "They're [Microsoft] really going ahead with this community license," McCabe says. "I think in the long run it will be a good thing for Microsoft."
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