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Microsoft launches another retail SKU; other headlines

Microsoft adds another ERP SKU for retail; Siemens signs Shared Technologies; more news.

IT channel news in brief for Jan. 14, 2010

Microsoft adds another ERP SKU for retail

Microsoft's latest retail ERP offering, Dynamics AX for Retail, builds on the company's acquisition of retail technology from LS Retail EHF and To-Increase Denmark A/S.

The company is positioning Dynamics AX for Retail, demonstrated at this week's National Retail Federation Convention & Expo in New York, as its end-to-end solution that will run a store's point-of-sale systems, electronic commerce, marketing and supply chain management tasks, said Crispin Read, general manager of Dynamics ERP.

The target market includes retail businesses with from 25 up to a few thousand stores.

Microsoft hopes the offering, due in June for 16 geographies, will put a dent in SAP's and Oracle's retail business. Oracle purchased Retek and its retail expertise in 2005. Within months, SAP, which had tried to buy Retek, snapped up Triversity instead.

Terry Petrzelka, CEO of Tectura Corp., a large Microsoft Dynamics partner, said he thought this offering could open up new retail opportunities for his company. Tectura often pitches Microsoft Dynamics NAV for the midmarket. This new SKU suits "the upper midmarket and is an entry into enterprise [retail accounts]," he said. Tectura has a big customer in Asia that is going with Dynamics AX soon.

He also, as a Microsoft partner, said he sees potential customers in retail that are looking for alternatives to SAP.

Dynamics AX relies on most of the Microsoft stack, including fairly recent versions of Windows Server and SQL Server and Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 desktops.

Siemens signs Shared Technologies

Looking to bolster its unified communications presence, Siemens Enterprise Communications brought Shared Technologies aboard to help enterprise accounts move from their existing communications platforms into unified communications.

Shared Technologies Inc. is a big Nortel (now Avaya) partner as well. One of its specialties is designing, implementing and maintaining communications systems for big companies.

Siemens Enterprise Communications Group launched a campaign last year to forge a partner-friendly push into unified communications where it competes with Microsoft and Cisco out of the PC world and Avaya/Nortel out of the telecom universe.

Microsoft greases skids for MySQL-to-SQL Server migration

There are an awful lot of MySQL users out there and Microsoft hopes to pick some off for SQL Server. This week Microsoft posted a preview of its SQL Server Migration Assistant for MySQL V. 1.0.

The toolkit aims to help users of MySQL versions 4.1, 5.0 and 5.1 jump to SQL Server 2008.

Microsoft hopes to woo MySQL users as Oracle moves toward completing its buyout of Sun Microsystems. Oracle's proposed buyout of Sun Microsystems -- which owns MySQL -- will be approved or not next week by the European regulators.

Check out Monday's IT channel news in brief.

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