1st November 2009
The news that Microsoft is to end the “distribution and sale” of Microsoft Office Accounting is likely to anger users of the business software many of whom were attracted by the full feature set and free downloads of the Express version when it was launched around two years ago. An announcement of the sort had been expected but the manner in which the news was given and the imminent timescales (Payroll and e-Payments add-on services for Office Accounting will be discontinued on December 15, 2009) leave much to be desired.
In a webinar with FSN earlier this year, Microsoft claimed 1.9 M downloads and installs of the software in the United States in the first year and 100,000 downloads in the UK, so the impact of the decision to withdraw the product will have far reaching implications for the SME market on both sides of the Atlantic and the for accounting professionals who are the key influencers in this market segment (more than 2,500 chartered accountants in the UK had signed up for the Microsoft Professional Accountants Network according to Microsoft).
Microsoft says it remains “supportive” of existing Office Accounting customers and existing customers will receive 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support in line with Microsoft’s support policy. In the UK, Microsoft has transferred customer support for Office Accounting to Mamut Software Ltd. So what is behind this astonishing decision? FSN will have some analysis and insights for you later this week.