Microsoft Upgrades Business Software, Takes Aim at Salesforce

Microsoft (MSFT) is upgrading its sale software to integrate data from LinkedIn (LNKD) , an effort CEO Satya Nadella hopes will be a central part of the company's long-term strategy for developing specialized business software, Reuters reports.

The enhancements to Dynamics 365, Microsoft's sales software, will present a challenge to Salesforce.com (CRM) and will represent Microsoft's first significant initiative from its $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, the report said.

The upgrade assists businesses foster relationships with its potential customers and current clients, while suggesting ways to save an at-risk deal.

The artificial intelligence of the software would be central, Nadella said. "I want to be able to democratize AI so that any customer using these products is able to, in fact, take their own data and load it into AI for themselves."

Currently, Microsoft ranks fourth behind Salesforce.com and other rivals including  Oracle (ORCL)  and SAP (SAP) , with 4.3% of the market in 2015, the most recent year for which figures are available, according to research firm Gartner.

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