Cougar Mountain President Departs: David Bassiri has stepped down as president of accounting software developer Cougar Mountain Software - a position that he held for seven years.

Bassiri’s duties are being temporarily handled by Bob Gossett, chief executive and founder of Boise, Idaho-based Cougar Mountain. The company is conducting an executive search for a permanent replacement, a spokesman said.

"We are very appreciative of David’s service to the company," said Gossett. "We extend David our best as he pursues new opportunities outside of Cougar Mountain."

Microsoft Buying POS Vendor: Just two weeks after announcing plans to acquire accounting software vendor Navision, Microsoft Corp. has announced plans to acquire Sales Management Systems, a privately held, Anaheim, Calif.-based point-of-sales technology company. Terms of the sale were not released.

This would be Microsoft’s third acquisition of a small to midsized business software application vendor in 17 months. In late April, the software giant announced that it had reached an agreement to buy Denmark-based Navision for $1.3 billion, and in January 2001, it acquired the former Great Plains for $1.1 billion, renaming that company Microsoft/Great Plains Business Solutions.

Microsoft said that the SMS acquisition "will open new opportunities" for its resellers and software developers that work with it. The company plans to integrate SMS’s QuickSell series of POS and retail management applications with MS/GP’s financial management applications to create "a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use and cost-effective offering to small and medium-sized retail businesses."

"Small and mid-market retailers face a challenging economy, increasing competition and rising customer expectations," said Satya Nadella, MS/GP corporate vice president. "Market factors heighten the need for a comprehensive and connected retail solution."

AccountMate Terminates 20 Percent Of Work Force: Novato, Calif.-based accounting software company Softline Software has eliminated 13 of 65 jobs at its AccountMate division, including Michael Horns, its sales channel manager, based in New Brunswick, N.J.

David Dierke, executive vice president at Softline’s other North American accounting software company, BusinessVision Management Systems, has assumed the additional responsibility of overseeing AccountMate’s channel.

The job cuts signal "a change in strategic direction," said Softline spokesman Brian Austin. "Murray Aston [Softline chief executive] inherited a mom-and-pop type of business with AccountMate and he wants to re-establish the company as a more professional enterprise, which means making difficult decisions like this one."

South African-based international software company Softline Ltd. acquired AccountMate and BusinessVision, of Toronto, in 2000, and created Softline Software as the companies’ immediate parent. Horn was hired by AccountMate’s founder Ben Tse shortly before he sold the company to Softline. Tse terminated his working relationship with Softline in April.

Accpac Begins Marketing Internet-Based Crm: Accpac International has begun marketing an Internet-based customer relationship management system that integrates with its Advantage Series accounting software.

ACCPAC eCRM, which employs a thin-client architecture, allows remote workers to access sales data from the user company’s Web site or Intranet or from servers operated by Accpac. The system provides for access from wireless devices as well.

Because selling CRM is far different than selling accounting software, Accpac, last year, hired one of its most successful CRM resellers, Tom Crafton, formerly of Vancouver, Wash.-based reseller thought.velocity, as a vice president responsible for assisting the channel with this product. One of the big product marketing distinctions is that CRM solutions are often sold to companies’ sales/marketing offices, while accounting software is sold to accounting departments.

"Customer relationship management, by nature, requires an integrated approach to handling business," said Accpac chief executive David M. Hood. "We’ve developed Accpac eCRM to be the benchmark by which others are measured."

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