Microsoft Targets Mid-Market Retailers

In another move to solidify its position in the supply-chain management
market for small-to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), Microsoft Corp.
purchased retail software maker Sales Management Systems Inc. (SMS).

By adding Anaheim, Calif.-based SMS, Microsoft’s Great Plains unit will beef
up its offerings to SMBs by adding tools specifically geared to retailers.
SMS makes QuickSell, a series of Web-enabled point-of-sale (POS) and
retail-management software. The series consist of QuickSell Commerce, a
Web-enabled POS application; QuickSell Commerce HQ, a back-office tool for
retailers with multiple stores; and QuickSell 2000, an all-in-one management
application for single stores.

The QuickSell products will be integrated with Microsoft Great Plains
Dynamics and Small Business Manager applications in the third quarter
domestically and next year internationally. Until then, they will continue
to be sold as stand-alone products. Microsoft plans to integrate it with its
.NET platform, giving retailers the ability to interact with suppliers and
partners through its Web services.

“Small and mid-market retailers face a challenging economy, increasing
competition and rising customer expectations. Market factors heighten the
need for a comprehensive and connected retail solution,” Satya Nadella,
corporate vice president of Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions, said
in a statement. “The combination of Microsoft’s technical leadership with
SMS’ award-winning QuickSell series will provide customers with increased
operational efficiency gains such as multi-store inventory control and
fast-transaction entry, resulting in a highly functional solution at a low
total cost of ownership.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal for SMS comes a month after Microsoft’s most aggressive move into
the business-applications mid-market, the $1.3 billion deal for European SMB-focused applications maker Navision.
The Navision purchase was designed by Microsoft to provide a European
counterpart to Great Plains, which Microsoft scooped up in a $1.1 billion deal in December 2000. The two companies now
form Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions.

Later this year, Microsoft will debut its much-talked-about customer relationship management product. In just a year and
a half, Microsoft has used acquisitions to build up a sizeable mid-market
resource-planning presence from scratch, threatening the long-held dominance
of companies like SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle.

Last week, Microsoft Great Plains rolled out Solomon IV Version 5.0, which features added functions for
inventorying, sales, and accounting.

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