Speaking exclusively to VNU News Net, Microsoft Great Plains’ UK managing director, Simon Edwards rejected claims that Great Plains users and resellers would be adversely affected by the acquisition.
Analyst firm Gartner Group had warned that users could confuse the Navision and Great Plains product offerings until Microsoft sorts out the product strategy.
Gartner predicted that Navision would take the lead in technology and functions of the combined product set by 2004.
No roadmap will be available until after the acquisition process was complete, which could be as late as September.
But Edwards said that Microsoft would continue to support all product lines. ‘Both companies are a good fit, committed to the .Net framework. I would expect to see a common set [of business applications] developed some time in the future,” he added.
Current channel partners would be given the opportunity to gain Navision accreditation, Edwards added, but ‘they would be under no pressure to do so’.
Microsoft has a good record in continuing to support releases, reducing the risk to customers, said Malcom White, sales director at Great Plains reseller, Glotel Accounting. The opportunity to sell Navision’s Axapter ERP software ‘would be of most interest,’ he added.
The other challenge facing Microsoft will be managing the combined channels. Both companies have well established channels, consequently the number of resellers offering similar products would rapidly increase.
Such a prospect was greeted with a degree of sang-froid by White. ‘Life has always been competitive,’ he said.
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