In a move that Microsoft Corp. said is about drawing more attention to the product, and not about weak sales, the company announced a huge price cut on its Small Business Accounting software.

Microsoft will offer a $100 instant discount as well as a year of free unlimited support to buyers of its Small Business Accounting 2006 software through April. When Microsoft launched the product in September, it hit retail shelves priced at $179 for a stand-alone copy, and shipped with a $30 mail-in rebate.

With the discount and the mail-in rebate still in effect, the software package was offered for as low as $39 at

According to the NPD Group, which tracks retail sales, market leader Intuit's QuickBooks accounted for 93.7 percent of November retail sales, and Peachtree had 4.5 percent. Microsoft had just 1.3 percent of retail sales for the month.

Microsoft said that it expects the price cut and accompanying marketing to cost roughly $10 million, on top of the $100 million that the company has already spent developing and marketing the software.

Small Business Accounting is a software package designed for companies with up to 25 employees. The software includes accounting, inventory, sales and purchase order tracking, and payroll functions.

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