What impact will Microsoft's acquisition of Navision have on accounting software resellers?

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I see the acquisition as purely a European play for Microsoft. Given the user count for Navision in the U.S., there is no cost justification for the U.S. penetration to even be a consideration. What I think it does for the Microsoft Great Plains partners who compete against Navision is provide a solid message on the fact that this was a European play. The volume of sales in U.S. and the partners who have been willing to commit to Navision continue to shrink.

Name withheld

With Navision having only 2000 customers and a weak national channel penetration in the U.S., I would imagine that Microsoft would consider ceasing new sales of Navision in this country, and instead direct the Navision partners to the current and next generation of Microsoft Great Plains products.

Partner Insights

Nicholas Hoad
Macdonald Consulting Group
Atlanta, Ga.

I don't think there will be a very drastic effect on the channel for Microsoft Great Plains. The majority of the channel does not have the ability to represent both products, for one. There are not very many Navision resellers in the U.S., and there are only a couple that can sell both. If anything, the channel should be happy that we might benefit from some of the great technology and functionality that Navision has built into its products. The manufacturing and the Web components alone are light years ahead of Microsoft Great Plains. If Microsoft picks them up, I am sure that they will fold the functionality that Great Plains is missing into the infamous "Next Gen" product suite. There are many pieces of the existing product line that are far superior to Navision, and vice versa.

David W. Bailey
Altara
Cedar Knolls, N.J.

It seems to me that they are looking at Navision and Axapta for the international presence and the manufacturing capabilities in both software lines. I don't see this affecting their U.S. reseller channel profoundly, nor do I see immediate implications for existing Great Plains and Solomon VARs.

Keith A. Washburn
Grant Thornton
Kansas City, Mo.

I believe you will see the quality of the reseller channel erode. Microsoft knows mass market and that is what they are good at. If they have to cannibalize their channel in order to reach a higher goal, I think you will see it. On the other side of the coin, this could create a significant opportunity for local support of any orphans that could be generated by a sloppy Microsoft sales channel. My biggest question now is whether in five years, we'll have a significant Microsoft Great Plains/Navision/Solomon market share with many, many orphan users looking for a quality reseller. This creates a potential gold mine of revenue for any reseller who can manage client engagements and relationships.

Wayne Schulz
Schulz Consulting
Glastonbury, Conn.

I don't see how or why Microsoft will change the way Navision operates in the short or near-term. Navision has a very clear idea of what its VAR channel is and should be. It has spent a lot of time and money finding, recruiting, and training VARs ("Solution Centers"). Each of these VARs is a painstakingly cultivated Navision asset, and it would be foolish for Microsoft or Great Plains to upset this channel in any way.

Matt Lefkowitz
Lefkowitz Systems
San Francisco

I think it will greatly benefit Microsoft Great Plains resellers down the road. This is a very positive event for MSGP. We run across many opportunities that require international capabilities in the ERP software. Currently, MSGP is limited in international features. The acquisition of Navision provides MSGP with those features and experience, and will allow MSGP to compete at a higher level.

Dominic V. Cristelli
ePartners
Atlanta, Ga.

It appears that Microsoft realizes that in the next phase of industry growth, the implementation mechanism is the critical constraint. I believe that Microsoft is buying channel/delivery mechanism long-term, not products. They are currently rewriting the GP products and I don't think they would adopt Navision's proprietary language.

Stephen Morin, CPA, CDP
Software Generation
Bedford, Texas

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