Is there life after Microsoft Office Accounting? Rephrase that: Is there life left in Office Accounting? There are times I think the employees charged with marketing Microsoft’s entry in the low-cost accounting market should sue their employer for nonsupport. With all the focus on Office Live, Xbox and Yahoo, there hasn’t been much energy left in the company for talking about this part of the accounting industry.

Or perhaps, we should say, Microsoft doesn’t seem to spend much time talking to accountants, although the company did show up at the Illinois CPA Society’s show this week. Maybe it’s just that Microsoft has stopped talking to the accounting trade press.

The program was launched three years ago as Small Business Accounting and was undercut by its own company on the day of its introduction, being overshadowed by a mid-market event held in the morning, while SBA followed the mid-market announcements. I’ve always felt that summed up the corporate attitude toward the product—“We’ll put it on the market and if it takes off, fine. If it doesn’t, we’re not out much.”

The view from Intuit is that there has not been any change in marketshare, meaning in Intuit’s overwhelming share through its QuickBooks behemoth.

Microsoft’s position is that there have been millions of downloads of Office Accounting Express. But there’s no indication that accountants are talking about the product or that their clients are demanding it.

The problem is it’s still not clear what the goal of the product is. There’s no evidence that the product's inclusion in Microsoft Office under either the old or new name caused  more people to use it.

And it doesn’t have the same architecture as the mid-market Dynamics line. By contrast, rival Intuit came out with the mid-market QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions which does have the same look and feel and basic architecture of its QuickBooks line and has been putting the hurt on the low end of the mid market..

And the ultimate problem with Office Accounting is probably that  It’s not a matter of whether the product is good. It’s that the company doesn’t quite know why it’s in this market.

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