Microsoft Axes Office Accounting Software

Microsoft quietly announced Friday that it plans to kill off its Office Accounting products, beginning Nov. 16.

“After evaluating the product over the past few years, we have determined that other Microsoft offerings, such as free templates in the Office system used with Excel and the Dynamics product, are able to meet our customers’ needs,” a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement.

The package, the current version of which is Office Accounting 2009, provides templates, tools and other add-ons to support small-business accounting within Microsoft’s Office productivity suite.

It has been a head-to-head competitor to Intuit’s QuickBooks packages, among other rivals.

The company said it would drop the entire family of Office Accounting products in the U.S. and U.K., including Office Accounting Express, Office Accounting Standard, Office Accounting Professional, Office Accounting Professional Plus, Office Accounting 3-user and Small Business Accounting, according to an FAQ posted online.

Office Accounting Express, which is free, was introduced with Office Accounting 2007.

Microsoft said, however, that although customers may be orphaned, they can continue to run the products during the support lifecycle.

“Existing customers will receive five years of mainstream support and five years of extended support,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, some services supported in the software will expire Dec. 15. For instance, online sales from eBay as well as credit profile information from Equifax will be discontinued after that date, according to the FAQ.

Other services are expected to continue — at least for now. These include the ability for customers to pay e-mailed invoices via PayPal, support for credit card processing services, and the ability to order checks and forms that are compatible with the software.

“The Office Small Business Web site has links to free templates for small businesses, such as invoices, expenses, time sheets, budgets and more,” the spokesperson added.

In addition, it’s not too late to get a refund for users who recently purchased an Office Accounting package. Returns will be valid within 30 days of purchase, according to the FAQ.

Microsoft has posted additional information for Office Accounting users online.

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