Small Businesses Grow More Optimistic (Reuters)Optimism among small U.S. businesses is rising back to levels seen before the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, but economic recovery is expected to be slow, with unemployment likely to keep rising, according to the National Federation of Independent Business report for November. – Dec 14 10:19 AM ET
Microsoft, Bank One Ink Online Services Pact (NewsFactor)… and will integrate Microsoft’s Great Plains software and bCentral small-business portal with its own financial offerings marketed towards small businesses,… – Dec 14 1:18 PM ET
Technology giant Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT – news) and Bank One (NYSE: ONE – news), the sixth-largest bank in the United States, said Friday they forged a US$30 million alliance to promote and develop online services.
As part of the three-year agreement, Bank One plans to use a variety of Microsoft offerings, including its nascent.NET technology. The pact focuses largely on marketing tie-ins and online services geared to U.S.-based consumers and small-to-mid-sized businesses.
“Anytime two large companies get together like this, I think the consumer benefits,” Yankee Group analyst Rob Lancaster told the E-Commerce Times.
Bank One, based in Chicago, will use MSN’s Marketing Advantage division to promote its financial products, and will integrate Microsoft’s Great Plains software and bCentral small-business portal with its own financial offerings marketed towards small businesses, the companies said.
The bank will also use Microsoft services like.NET Alerts, which sends information to users via a PC or wireless device. In addition, Bank One will market MSN’s Internet access service to its customers.
In turn, Microsoft will use some Bank One commercial products in Great Plains, and the bCentral portal will provide Bank One customers with services such as Web hosting and online scheduling. Those services will also be available via the Bank One Web site.
My spin:Only a huge compan the size of MS could swing a deal like this. Regardless of if Microsoft’s products are good or not, they have the money to create mega-deals that will attract a lot of customers and this is how bCentral, Great Plains and other MS properties will gain market share and be a dominant player in the ASP space.

The following two tabs change content below.
Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook