September 7, 2005 5:41 AM PDT

New Microsoft package targets Intuit

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Intuit debuts new QuickBooks

August 26, 2005
Taking aim at Intuit's QuickBooks, Microsoft on Wednesday announced new accounting software for small and midsize businesses.

The company?s Small Business Accounting 2006, which has been in the works for some time, comes in two flavors. The standalone accounting software sells for $179, though Microsoft is offering a $30 rebate at launch. And the Small Business Management product bundles the accounting software with Office components, including Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. For new customers, the package costs $569, after a $100 rebate. It's available for $399 after a $100 rebate for existing Office customers.

While there are plenty of other accounting programs in the market, Microsoft is touting the deep integration of the new software with its widely used Office programs. The new software can be used to allow a salesperson to turn an opportunity into a quote and then an order, said Microsoft vice president Steve Guggenheimer, who heads the company's small-business effort.

"It's the workflow aspect and how easy it is," Guggenheimer said in an interview ahead of Wednesday's launch. Microsoft is launching the product as part of its Microsoft Business Summit, a conference geared primarily to midsize companies.

Microsoft has also built the program so other companies can customize it for various industries or create additional services. For example, Microsoft has partnered with Chase Merchant Services for credit card processing, ADP for payroll and Checkfree and Deluxe Small Business Services for check writing and bill payment.

Intuit vice president Dan Levin noted that Microsoft has tried to take on QuickBooks and other Intuit products before.

"They've come up against Intuit six times in the past, and each time they have retreated with a bloody nose," Levin said.

Levin also said that Intuit's $99 QuickBook Simple Start is a better option for first-timers. "They are coming in at the wrong price point with a product that's way too complicated," he said.

In addition to QuickBooks customers, Microsoft is also targeting the 40 percent of people today that use Excel or no dedicated program, Guggenheimer said. "Competing with that, I think, is relatively straightforward."

IDC analyst Ray Boggs said that although Intuit has also built-in tools to connect with Office applications, Microsoft has the ability to bundle its products together. "That's something that Intuit is not able to do," he said.

Intuit plans to launch QuickBooks 2006, a significant update to the program, in November. Levin wouldn't say whether Microsoft's effort will influence any further price changes.

"We're not making any announcements about the pricing of QuickBooks," he said.

13 comments

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Integration is irrelevant...
... that's just MS fog. Quickbooks and Quicken both work just
fine without any Office interaction. Can't see why any would be
needed, after all the world hardly begins or ends with MS Office,
despite what MS marketing would want you to think.

And the price also seems a bit overwhelming.

I think it's rather obvious that any intelligent person would
hardly choose a new , unproven, undebugged MS offering when
there are many other established accounting packages already
available.

Great Plains used to be in that category before MS bought them
out. I guess MS needed learn the basics of accounting before
dumping Small Business Accounting 2006 on the gullible public.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Heh
You guys are funny.
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
Stick around, kid
"I think it's rather obvious that any intelligent person would hardly choose a new , unproven, undebugged MS offering when there are many other established accounting packages already available."


I take it you're new to this computer stuff.
Posted by (58 comments )
Link Flag
Stick Around, you'll learn a lot
"I think it's rather obvious that any intelligent person would hardly choose a new , unproven, undebugged MS offering when there are many other established accounting packages already
available."

New to this game?
Posted by (58 comments )
Link Flag
You're right.
First your accounting software is definitely supposed to be 'stable.' So are the numbers it contains. Forget about hot linking to some dynamic OLE container object.

Second, Microsoft is thinking that these people have an accounting department and do their own audit for Sarbains-Oxley and the growing list of regulations.

Uhmmm. They have an accountant to handle all that, (usually somebody they trust with their shoe-boxes full of receipts,( and he's a very small business with very OLD, trusted tools that he's NOT INTERESTED in having change in any way, shape or form. And he's not embedding a damn thing in any document.

Microsoft can just go look for another client base because they obviously don't 'grok' what the marketplace is doing.
Posted by CharlesRovira (97 comments )
Link Flag
They're supposed to understand marketing?
NO business, absolutely no business, will buy their package.

Its named wrong. NO business will admit that they're a small business. They live in hope of making it big...

Small business accounting makes it sound like they've given up.

It seems pretty obvious that if Microsoft had not been able to strong-arm the OEMs in the early eighties, they would have shrivelled up and blown away.

They don't understand a thing about 'selling.'
Posted by CharlesRovira (97 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not so sure about their sellig skills...
... look what they've done with Windows.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Small business?
You're kidding, right? Small busnisses refer to themselves as small businesses, and the small business market is well defined. These businesses specifically refer to themselves that way.

You are obviously very unfamiliar with the small business market.

I, for example, buy computer hardware from the "Small Business" store at various computer companies.

Visit: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.apple.com/business/" target="_newWindow">http://www.apple.com/business/</a>

At this very moment, the words SMALL BUSINESS are displayed in a huge font at the top of the screen. Their entire business page is dedicated to small businesses. Here's the text form the last paragraph: "Achieve Business Success with Mac-based Solutions
Apples powerful business solutions will dramatically reduce the time you spend dealing with the day-to-day activities of running your business. From Health Services and Retail to Legal and Architecture, Apple offers world-class solutions for small business."

Now shut up.
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
Tons of examples about "Small Business"
Ever heard of Small Business Card for American Express? Ever heard of Costco's insurance plan for small businesses? You want more examples? Try google and do your homework, stupid.
Posted by Jess McLean (61 comments )
Link Flag
Here we go again, strangle markets, ignore Windows flaws
This company is wildy out of control, doing anything, anytime,
to anyone, anywhere, for any reason, or none at all. There needs
to be another monopoly suit brought against them, maybe by
China or India, and Canada, and then the US can wise up and go
after them and this time prevail.

Windows is brokenware, it has been on the scrapheap of
innovation for over 5 years. It was in its heyday when 95 came
out, after the IE browser was mashed(integrated) in the OS, its
been downhill ever since.

While MSFT carves up new markets that are the last stand for
many poor company's, it leaves their ISV's to not only compete
against each other, but also big Momma Microsoft for their
customer dollars, talk about eating your young. How considerate
of them, roll over the world, at your leisure.

And how strange it is that there are so many "patsys" that fall
right over for them, even making excuses and apologies, and
fantasy proclamations about how good they are. It is absolute
heresy to allow this group to evade responsibility for their
negligence and substandard software, while at the same time
letting them invade new areas that are clearly well covered with
superior products.

Especially software that handles finances; this is something I
would be loathe to ever give them my personal or business
information in any form. MS Passport was intrusion enough
while it lasted, the new levels of infiltration, labeled as
integration that they propose with other apps is useless for
most, and a weakness of the highest order for all who go there.
The whole country pays daily for every delay, repair, reboot,
update, restore, and security break they allow in Windows, its
time for a class-action suit from consumers to recover losses of
billions of $$$. Sayonnara to Small Biz server, accounting, or
whatever it was they want to name it, just call it expensive JUNK.
Posted by educateme (101 comments )
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