As part of its long-term commitment to help small businesses reach their full potential, Microsoft Corp. today introduced one year of free, unlimited support and savings for customers who purchase Microsoft® Office Small Business Accounting 2006 full package product at participating retailers in the U.S. This special offer makes it easier than ever for small-business owners to replace their old books with confidence — whether pen and paper, Microsoft Office Excel®, or QuickBooks accounting system — with Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006, a financial management program that has the familiar look and feel of Microsoft Office.
As part of this special offer, the one year of free, unlimited personal support begins the day of product registration and includes — but is not limited to — assistance with installation, product functionality, technical questions and migration tools. In addition, when advertised from today through April 30, 2006, customers can receive up to $100 in savings off the retail price of Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 at the following participating retailers: Best Buy, CompUSA, Office Depot, Staples and OfficeMax. At the same time, hardware partner Dell Inc. is shipping Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 and Microsoft Office Small Business Management Edition 2006 on select Dell small-business computers, including Dimension and Optiplex desktop PCs and Latitude notebooks. Dell will offer promotional pricing and related offers online at http://www.dell.com/sba and over the phone. Further, in conjunction with this promotion, Microsoft is offering accounting professionals a Small Business Accounting Starter Kit with the tools they need to assist clients that are looking to make the switch from their old books. Additional details on all aspects of the promotion can be found online at http://www.officesmallbusinessaccounting.com.
SBA was selling for as little as $49 (after rebates) at CompUSA according to Ina Fried at CNET who provides some background:
Introduced last September, Microsoft’s Small Business Accounting 2006 is Microsoft challenge to several well-entrenched competitors, including Intuit’s QuickBooks and Peachtree’s set of accounting tools.
However, analysts say that Microsoft has yet to make much of a dent in the market. According to NPD, which tracks retail sales, Intuit’s QuickBooks accounted for 93.7 percent of November retail sales, and Peachtree had 4.5 percent. Microsoft had just 1.3 percent of retail sales for the month.
“I think Intuit is probably breathing a sigh of relief,” said NPD analyst Chris Swenson. However, he said he doesn’t expect Microsoft to give up. “They tend to come out with a product, figure out where its weak and improve upon it.
Raikes said that sales have met expectations, but Microsoft did not give a specific sales figure. Microsoft expects the price cut and accompanying marketing to cost roughly $10 million, on top of the $100 million that the company has already spent developing and marketing the software.
Raikes is also quoted as saying that half the sales so far came from customers who had been using Intuit’s QuickBooks which is fairly surprising.