Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is entering the world of social media in an upcoming release, CRM Buyer has confirmed. In other words, the rivalry between Microsoft and Salesforce.com is only about to get more intense, even as Dynamics CRM Online prepares to join the Microsoft Office 365 cloud suite.

Let's back up: The article, in which Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is quoted extensively, confirms that over the next 14 months, the offering will get a "Facebook-style interface that allows people to communicate across the CRM system."

Now, I don't know what that sounds like to you. But to me, it sounds exactly like what Salesforce.com is doing with its Chatter platform. Of course, in typical Microsoft fashion, this comes way after Salesforce set the tone for social media and CRM at Dreamforce '11, with its "Welcome to the Social Enterprise" tagline.

The actual roadmap goes something like this: In addition to that social aspect, the Q4 release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will bring streamlined and enhanced disaster recovery, business intelligence, data management and a unified back end between the on-premises and cloud-hosted Dynamics CRM. That's with a stated goal of preparing the platform for deep integration with Microsoft Office 365, of which Dynamics CRM Online will become a part later this year.

Then in the second quarter of 2012, a new feature release will include, among other undisclosed add-ons, browser intercompatibility that will free Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online from the shackles of Microsoft Internet Explorer.

We'll continue to watch the Microsoft/Salesforce.com CRM battle as the two companies battle for the hearts and minds of the cloud services channel, so stay tuned.