Sometime-rivals Intuit and Microsoft are now partners in an effort to encourage software developers to use technology from the two companies to create Web-based applications for small businesses that run QuickBooks.

Developers will be able to deliver and market their Web applications through the Intuit App Center. Microsoft and Intuit plan to integrate the capabilities of their cloud services technology platforms, the Intuit Partner Platform and Windows Azure Platform, to enable developers and their reseller channel partners to deliver software applications to employees within businesses that use QuickBooks. In addition, the two companies will provide small businesses with Microsoft's cloud-based productivity applications via the Intuit App Center.

“By combining the pooled technology assets of our developer communities, we stand to produce an outpouring of new applications to help small businesses enhance their competitive edge,” said Microsoft vice president Walid Abu-Hadban in a statement.

Microsoft came close to buying Intuit in 1994 in a $1.5 billion deal, but the Justice Department objected to the merger on antitrust grounds. Microsoft eventually withdrew from the deal and paid Intuit a termination fee of $46.25 million. During court proceedings, it was revealed that Microsoft had poured over $1 billion into developing its Microsoft Money personal finance software product to compete with Intuit’s Quicken product and pressure its rival into agreeing to an acquisition.

After the deal fell apart, Microsoft developed its own small business accounting software package to compete with QuickBooks. Last year, however, Microsoft discontinued its Money, Small Business Accounting and Office Accounting Products.

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