Microsoft’s SMB Accounting Push: Intuit, Sage in the Cross Hairs

Today Microsoft is launching Small Business Accounting 2006.
Doug Leland, general manager of small business for the SMS&P group (small, midmarket solutions and partners) explained to me that Microsoft sees business value to the SMB segment through three key areas:
-the actual product (making it and delivering it)
-Microsoft partners (key players in all of Microsoft’s strategies, but especially this one)
-Reaching out to the 40 million Smb’s worldwide in an efficient manner
Microsoft’s competitors, namely Intuit and Sage, think it will fail in the SMB accounting space. Doug challenges them on their assertions.
Myth 1: Since Microsoft has several different products it is too spread out to focus on the SMB accounting space.
Microsoft feels that with its breadth of products (such as the marketing leading Office) customers can gain a tremendous value through having an integrated set of applications that work well together; versus having to buy them in pieces.
Doug acknowledges that in the past Microsoft has made mistakes and did not always get things perfect. However, its done some “deep listening to customers” and continues to dig in and work with customers and get better.
Cnet writes: Intuit vice president Dan Levin 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.
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.
Myth 2Another charge is that Intuit’s focus is on how simple and NON-accounting their products are. Sage goes the other way and targets their products for businesses that want a good program but a serious one with an accounting angle. Where does Small Business Accounting 2006 fit in?
Doug said that Microsoft Small Business Accounting 2006 sits in the middle. It is a very powerful product but like other Microsoft tools, with wizards, help and the overall interface – will be familiar to the end user.
About the product
Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 is a full-featured financial management software that is available as a stand alone offering or as part of Office Small Business Management Edition 2006 which also includes, Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager Update as well as Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office Excel 2003, Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003 and Microsoft Office Access 2003.
coming into the launch with momentum.
Doug explained that over 50,000 trial copies of Microsoft Small Business Accounting has been requested and that Microsoft has gone through extensive processes to ensure that the needs of its target audience (accountants, small business owner end users, partners) is met in this single suite. A small business can manage sales, marketing and finance with Microsoft’s accounting and office suite combined.
In addition to the product itself, Microsoft is launching with new and ongoing partnerships which extend the Small Business Accounting product through services. Microsoft is partnering with ADP for payroll, Chase for credit card processing, Digital insight and Check Free for online payment process and others.
For distribution:
– Dell PCs Loaded with Microsoft Office Editions for Small Business. As the marquee OEM partner for Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006, Dell will offer the software pre-installed on selected Dell small business computing systems, including Dimension desktops and Inspiron notebooks.
– Well-Known Office Channels to Distribute Office Small Business Solutions. Gateway will offer Office Small Business Management Edition 2006 on its new S-series of desktops and notebooks, available through Gateway direct at Additionally more than 65,000 value added resellers (VARs) and System Builders have received Office Small Business Accounting.
– Leading Retailers Partner to Distribute Office Small Business Solutions. Microsoft has entered into agreements with leading retailers including CompUSA, Staples, Office Depot,, OfficeMax, and Best Buy Co., Inc. to promote the new editions of Office Small Business Management and Small Business Accounting. As a result, the products will be distributed in over 5,000 U.S. retail outlets.
The independent software vendor is very important for the extensiable growth of Small Business Accounting and Office suite. In this regard, 135 ISV’s actively participated in early adopter program (20k SDk copies downloaded), 300 ISVs have indicated that they will build for SBA.
Pricing and availability
Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 is available in the United States at a suggested retail price of U.S. $149 (after a $30 mail-in rebate offer). ADP Payroll for Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting is available for $169 per year. Microsoft Small Business Management Edition 2006 is available in the United States at a suggested retail price of US$569 or as an upgrade for existing Microsoft Office customers at US$399 (both after a $100 mail-in rebate). Customers can go to http://www. to learn more.