Microsoft Corp. is committed to the SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) market for CRM (customer relationship management) software, and is working with partners on hosted versions of its product to make it more accessible, chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates said last week.

Gates took the stage at a U.K. partner and customer event promoting the company’s Business Solutions CRM 1.2 software for SMEs last week, and spoke about Microsoft’s commitment to the CRM market.

Microsoft officially launched the CRM software in December but it is only this month available in Europe. The company will develop CRM software alongside its other products, particularly Office and Outlook, making it as useful as possible to smaller business, Gates said to the audience of 500 small business people and partners in London.

Microsoft is working with U.K. partners on localizing the product, and enabling hosted services to make it affordable to all customers, Gates said. There will be announcements in the next month of “fairly large” U.K. partners offering a hosted service, Gates said.

The company will also work to keep its CRM software’s “pretty clean architectural boundary” to ensure it can work with other products than Microsoft’s own, he said.

“Microsoft is here to map software into your business, and to help your business be more successful,” he said.