Microsoft eyes top spot in accountancy software

Despite playing down thoughts of competing against market leaders, Doug Burgum, senior vice president of Microsoft, said the plan would include lowering the costs for SMEs wishing to switch vendors.

He added: ‘Our competitors tend to be able to hold onto customers because of high switching costs, [but] that is something we will have to overcome.’

The deal represents Microsoft’s largest ever acquisition and the move helps it continue to diversify from its dependence on Windows and Office. Microsoft has long been looking to move into the accountancy software, and bought Great Plains in 2000 for £747m.

However, the move has aroused strong feelings among rival vendors in an already crowded market.

Hansa UK managing director, Stephen Jay, said: ‘On a product level this makes no sense. There is already confusion among dealers over [Navision] direction and future product development – they already have the Damgaard products in their portfolio. Add in Great Plains products and you have a dog’s breakfast of overlapping products.’

Navision’s board has unanimously decided to recommend the offer, while the company has yet to decide the branding of Navision.

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