Today I reported, that Microsoft launched, Microsoft Point of Sale, a POS solution geared directly at small businesses.
Interestingly enough, Intuit, Microsoft’s arch rival in the SMB and work group database, tax software and business management products also has a competing POS solution – Quickbooks Point of Sale.
Steven Aldrich, General Manager, QuickBooks Point of Sale explained that Microsoft (and the company it acquired) has been doing point of sale solutions for 20 years and has about 20,000 customers.
Intuit, on the other hand, has been in this business for three years (not including the almost 20 years RTI, who it acquired the POS technology from, had been in business) and has 35,000 retail customers.
With today’s announcement by Microsoft, the 20,000 customers Microsoft has (according to Intuit) will turn to thousands more over the next several months.
Steven explained that an advantage Intuit has, is its based of 400,000 retailers that are using QuickBooks.
When retailers are looking for a POS solution – which solution are they more likely to choose?
Intuit’s, to go hand in hand with their Quickbooks’ financial program?
Microsoft’s, the maker of their business applications (Word, Excel, etc)?
Microsoft POS integrates with Quickbooks, but if you were an SMB customer would you want to buy a product that “integrates” with what you have or that is from the same company and has the same interface and programming foundation as what you already have for your accounting? Although Microsoft is king of the business application market, Intuit is king of the SMB management/financial market. Retailing is a financial task.
We finished our discussion with Steve noting that like many products and industries, Microsoft has not created something new but has simply copied what Intuit has already done (including the name). I explained to Steve that copying was not a bad thing but could be a competitive advantage – the Asians do it all the time.
Steve, in no way takes Microsoft for granted and considers them a powerful and worthy competitor.
Let’s not forget, IE was a copy of Netscape and it didn’t last long.
What do I recommend?
Talk with your retail technology consultant. If you don’t have one Intuit and Microsoft can refer you to one. Try out both products for a week. After a few days the one that works best for you will shine.
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