Microsoft hopes to boost sales with zero-percent financing

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Hoping to spark sales as companies put the squeeze on capital spending, Microsoft said Thursday that new customers of its Dynamics ERP and CRM applications in some parts of the world can apply for zero-percent, 36-month financing.  The deal, through Microsoft Financing, is good on purchases costing between US$20,000 and $1 million. Microsoft is also offering standard financing rates on other ownership expenses, such as partner services and customization work. While Microsoft’s offer is for a limited time, it hasn’t set an end date

Barack Obama hasn’t even appointed a chief technology officer yet, but thousands of people are using a new Web site to suggest and vote on ideas they think his CTO should work on. Speculation has such high-profile leaders as Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in the running, but the Obama team hasn’t offered any hints about the candidate they are considering. Whoever ends up with the job can look at the new Obama CTO Web site to see what issues the general public thinks should be made priorities. The top idea, “ensure the Internet is widely accessible and network neutral,” had more than 8,300 votes by Thursday afternoon.

The video game market in the U.S. saw a healthy 18 percent expansion in October and remains on track for a record year despite consumer cutbacks on general electronics purchases. Sales of game consoles and portables were up 5 percent compared to October 2007, at US$495 million, while software sales jumped 35 percent to $697 million, according to figures from NPD Group. Sales of video game accessories, such as extra controllers, fell 8 percent to $120 million. Overall the entire video game market in the U.S. was worth $1.3 billion in October, up 18 percent from the same month last year.

Microsoft Thursday unveiled a revamped Live Search API that developers can use to embed search on Web sites with more support for frequently used Web-development technologies and less restrictions on how third parties use the technology on their Web sites. Project Silkroad is an API (appfor Live Search that supports a broad range of open Web protocols and technologies used to build Web sites. Microsoft also is releasing third parties from previous restrictions on how they use the API. There are no limits to the amount of queries sites can make and site developers can rank content how they want.

…And those are the top stories from the IDG Global IT News Update, brought to you by the IDG News Service. I’m Sumner Lemon in Singapore. Join us again later for more news from the world of technology.


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