Microsoft's Office Accounting software, used to challenge Sage and Intuit, has become the latest victim of corporate cuts. The package will no longer be distributed after November 16, Microsoft said Friday. Versions of the product affected are the Express, Standard, Professional, Professional Plus, three-user and Small Business …
MS had an in house accounts package?
And of course who cared?
Obviously it was not the instant success that MS was hoping for. Accountants have such funny ideas about software.
Had I know of it the chopping of it would have been quite predicatible. Having splashed big wedge on buying Great Plains and Navision and no doubt continuing to spend to get them close enough to "persuade" their respective user bases (which is what they were mainly bought for) onto a proper MS product
During my time with a Navision reseller that was now selling the MS ERP solution I found existing users unwilling to "upgrade" to this and thereby hang their whole businesses future on an MS product.
MS will want to be the new SAP. My experience tells me there is still too much diversity for MS to find a market leader to emulate, then exterminate.
The payroll aspect is also dead
What this article fails to mention (and M$ skirt around in their own FAQ) is that the on-lne add-on for calculating NI/PAYE etc. will be killed as of mid December (just before being needed for that month's wages!), so anyone using this for payroll has just one month of continued use - after that they need to find a new payroll solution! Great product lifecycle support from M$ :-(
MS Office Accounting is actually a very good application and I finally stumbled across it...now to be discontinued. MS Office, especially the dumbed down 2007 versions are absolutely not suitable substitute for MSOA at all.
Upgrading a small business to the MS small business solutions with a few consulting partners and a handful of services makes no sense at all.
MS are actually offering ongoing support and migration to Mamut. checked them out but another expensive tied-in solution from what i can see.
I really don't like the way that MS is going, with crappy new designs and scrapping good products such as his one, Flight Sim, etc, etc. 5-10 years from now they will regret it.
Come back Bill, all is forgiven (almost)
laugh? damn right!
Awesome! Yet more people who figured "can't go wrong buying Microsoft software" getting the shaft. Laugh? Damn right, since these are the same type of people who keep insisting on vendor-specific software rather than specifying vendor-independent data formats.
Wondering ... ?
Part of me wonders if this is really a quantum leap shift from selling direct to end users TO selling direct to business.
It would help to explain (and justify?) dropping stuff like a hot potato because there is a better customer (Sage? Intuit?) waiting with contract in hand.
If so, and to continue the speculation a bit further, it might explain/justify why some applications suddenly become very empty and an n+1 update/upgrade suddenly become an n-2 step backwards?
Maybe Steve wants corporate customers rather than end users? (Hence W7 courtesy of your OEM rather than courtesy of MS?)
Just wondering that's all ...
Quality Program That is Actually Useful
Damn, I actually liked Office Accounting, like Windows Live Writer it was one of those products from Microsoft that is really good, but also free!
I also agree with the others, MS seem to be getting rid of some good programs for short term cost savings, bad move, bad precedent.
Some self assembly required
@JS19 - I think the comparison with SAP will be apt when Microsoft start selling Visual Studio 2008 and a SQL Server driver as "all in one off the shelf business wonder suite".
You just need to do a leeetle coding and customisation to shape it to your business' needs.
Perhaps MS realised that accountants don't shell out money when they don't need to, even if they are taken out for lunch and offered $$$ of discounts.
Can't say I've ever used MS Office Accounting - Gnucash does it for me.
Nice one Sage.
Hats off to Sage who must have spent many sleepless nights worrying if Microsoft were going to come in and eat their lunch. A rare example of the superior product (and the _infinitely_ superior tech support) winning through.
Migrate to MAMUT? - beware
Me and the other half have used MS Office Accounting Express to do the records for her small consultancy business (1 employee, 2 clients, not VAT registered, no PAYE), mainly because it was FREE. Not the easiest product in the world to use, but seemed to do the job ok.
We got an email saying it would no longer be supported, but we could have a FREE migration to Mamut Mini. Had a look at the details, and it's only in the small print that you find out that it's 1 year free, then it's £59+VAT/year and "The Mamut Service Agreement is compulsory from year 2". Which in my book, certainly isn't free. So I'll be sticking with MSOA Express, because for the moment, it does all we need it to do.
I can fully understand cutting a product that isn't making any money, but don't peddle some alternative to a free product that looks free but isn't. I wonder how much Mamut (who I'd never heard of, I have to admit) is paying MS for the privilege of taking on its users?
@ "the superior product"
WHAT? I used (or tried to use) Sage for my self-employed accounts, and it was a complete pig for a non bean-counter type like myself ... then I read an article on El Reg about Microsoft Accounting, installed it, and very soon uninstalled Sage and never looked back.
Microsoft ACcounting had a definite place for some people, and was/is much more reliable and easier to maintain. I shall miss it.
The one thing about all this that I think is a little unfair is the short notice that Microsoft have given to users of the product.
Cutting us off at 4 weeks notice?
I am absolutely lost for words. Mamut have just confirmed that our existing payroll service will DIE at 4 weeks notice. Wow.
We now have 4 weeks to scramble around, find a new payroll supplier and migrate all our payroll accounting functions to them - in the run up to Christmas. What on earth is Microsoft thinking - at the very least surely they'd leave it running until PAYE year end (March) so that we can process P35s etc.? What an incredible way to alienate the important small business sector.
We can't afford to take risks with tied-in Microsoft software any longer. I'm heading for the cloud - we've already ditched Exchange + Outlook in favour of Google Mail with our own domain.
Sage feels pretty antiquated - anyone know which are the best cloud accounting software suppliers for small business (ie. not Netsuite as it's many £000s / year). What about xero.com (though it has no UK payroll integration)?
I have used the professional version for about 3 years, its light years ahead of the rest. Tried the Mamut software! How on earth did Microsoft get to use this outfit? Its bloated and probably designed for 500,000 plus manufacturing conglomerated and not for MSOA customers, and the payroll is a nightmare. Back to the drawing board and off to the cloud.
Pity - not that the .net structure was very friendly, but...
MS Money is vile-ly pbsessed with online banking and doesn't do double-entry properly, ditto QuickBooks. Sage has all the flexibility and utility of a 25 year old monopoly product designed for firms with several in-house accountants who qualified in the 80s. None of them handles multiple currencies in a plausibly useful manner.
I'd quite like a piece of software that would give me the no-nonsense functionality - and manageable reporting - that Intuit put into the English version of Quicken before they murdered it to force people on to its increasingly cumbersome and always much less flexible successor.
I had cherished hopes MSOA would turn into something really useful (or force the others to do so) in a couple of years. Back to square one.
What Small Businesses Need...
Is NOT a high profile and (in their eyes at least) 'trusted' software supplier like Microsoft killing what could quite likely be their (i.e. the SMB's) current Line-of-Business software with a few weeks notice - Microsoft deserve a bloody good kicking for this! Will HMRC accept any excuses?
There's currently a gaping hole in the small business market (esp. for the 'micro' businesses) for an accounting package that is both usable & accessible by small business owners and also sufficiently structured & controlled to be acceptable to their 'accountants' - and I'm sorry but neither Sage nor Intuit can cut it for anyone who's not been at least AAT trained :-)
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