Many people are wondering what will happen with Softline, recently purchased by Sage, and Accpac International, which Sage recently agreed to buy. That’s not immediately clear, but here are some predictions of things that will not happen.
Sage and its Best Software operations will not close down the Accpac Advantage, Simply Accounting, or BusinessVision lines. Softline and Accpac give Best a rock-solid hold on the Canadian accounting software market from retail through mid-range to mid-market. Nor will it close down the Softline line in Australia or South Africa anytime soon for the same reason. Sage has just purchased the strongest position in accounting software in the English-speaking world and it will not abandon that.
Microsoft will not buy Sage. It seems highly unlikely that the European Union will allow Microsoft to stake out a more dominant position in Europe given Sage’s strong position in England and Navision’s strong position in Denmark and Germany.
Accpac President David Hood will not have trouble finding a new job. Hood is onboard right now, but presidents of acquired companies tend to end up pursuing other interests. Presuming Hood will be in the market, he’s going to have a resume that moves him to a better job. He kept Accpac alive in a difficult market and in the last year succeeded in growing revenue by 12 percent. That alone will get him in the door for a lot of job interviews. He also did it with some operating earnings. And he acquired eWare, whose online CRM applications is one of those applications even competitors talk about.
Partner concerns that Best cannot afford the R&D for its many products are not going to die down. The Accpac deal marks the first time that Best has purchased a company that competes head-on with its U.S. mid-market VARs. They are a bit worried.
Historically, Best does not drop product lines. It is still marketing the antiquated DacEasy, throwing a few nominal upgrades in the market. The company’s rationale is that if it can make money with old products, it will.
Cross-selling is Best’s strength. It already had the Peachtree to MAS 90 route, and now steps into the Simply Accounting to Accpac natural migration path. If you wonder just what kind of leverage Best has, troll the Internet, and look at all the Microsoft accounting software resellers who handle Best products such as its fixed asset and HRMS lines.
Does Best want or need two FoxPro-based source code products, namely Softline’s AccountMate and Accpac’s Pro Series (the former SBT line?) Both products stem from the same code tree. AccountMate is due for a face-lift and, just for good will, Best will probably keep the product to keep users happy.
And one final prediction: the new rumor choice, that SAP will buy Sage is not going away, not that it’s true, but it’s on people’s minds.
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