After spending four years of trying to establish its name in the market, Best Software is going to disappear, replaced by the name of its corporate parent, Sage Ltd.
Of course, using the Best name in the United States was not something Sage wanted to do. In 2001, Sage lost a court fight to Quick Technologies, the small Texas company that claimed ownership of the name Sage in this country. Many think Sage adopted the Best name, the original name of the Reston, Va.-based company that marketed the FAS fixed asset and Abra payroll lines, after Quick asked for too much money. Whatever the case, the parties have settled and Sage will be bringing its name back to this country over the next year.
There have been some resellers with reactions such as "you've got to be kidding." They lived through the change over from State-of-the-Art, the company that originated MAS 90, to Sage Software, to the Mid-Market Division of Best Software, and will now circle the wagons back to Sage.
It may seem that Sage is handing archrival Microsoft Business Solutions a club at a time that MBS is getting its act together, and certainly there will be inconvenience.
But there is really only one company that's well known in the mid-market accounting business, Microsoft, and one product that is virtually a household name within that target market--Great Plains. As Best CEO Ron Verni notes, his company's products are better known than the company name. And Best has done quite well, despite Microsoft's big advantage in corporate name recognition.
There may be some corporate ego involved in resuming the use of Sage. But the real issue is the increasingly international scope of business. If Best has little recognition in the United States, it has virtually none internationally. It's the same factor that I believe will render Great Plains, still a highly successful line in this country, secondary to Navision and Axapta, which are better known elsewhere.
One MAS 90 reseller noted that recently he was talking to Japanese prospects about Best and its products. "When they heard the name Sage, their eyes lit up," he reported. That's pretty much the whole story.
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