MYOB ANNOUNCES BUYOUT OF U.S. ARM: MYOB Ltd., a developer of small business accounting and management software and services, has sold its U.S. operations to Acclivity LLC, an entity owned by members of the MYOB U.S. Inc. management team. Effective last month, Acclivity now is the exclusive U.S. republisher for MYOB products and services. As part of a review of MYOB's options in relation to its U.S. business, the Australian headquarters decided that the U.S. operation had diverged strategically from the rest of the company and would be better acting on its own.The U.S. operation's expected revenue contribution to the parent company would have been around $5.6 million for the 2005 calendar year, a pre-tax loss. Following the release of new product upgrades in November, revenue for December was forecast to be just under $1 million.

Acclivity will be owned and managed by Tom Nash, the former architect of MYOB U.S. product strategy, and Scott Davisson, former head of MYOB U.S. sales and marketing.

SAGE POSTS 14 PERCENT RISE IN OPERATING PROFITS: Global financial software publisher Sage Group posted 14 percent increases in its fiscal 2005 revenue and operating profits, to $1.4 billion and $391 million, respectively, for the year ended Sept. 30, versus the same year-ago period.

Total year-end revenue for the Sage Group's North American business - Sage Software - rose 13 percent, to $584.7 million, while operating profits jumped 22 percent, to $136.6 million.

Sage North America expanded its product portfolio during the year with the November 2004 acquisition of Federal Liaison Services Inc., a payroll services supplier. The company also unveiled upgrades to its small business software products, including Act! by Sage 2006, Peachtree by Sage 2006 and Simply Accounting by Sage 2006.

Sage also shipped new releases of its mid-market products, including Sage Online Payroll Services; completed upgrades to the MAS 90, MAS 200 and MAS 500 accounting systems for small and midsized companies; enhanced Sage CRM SalesLogix; and launched, which provides small and midsized businesses with a full-suite online customer relationship management subscription service.

MICROSOFT UNVEILS NEW GREAT PLAINS APPLICATION: Last month, Microsoft unveiled Microsoft Dynamics GP, formerly known as Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains, at its Microsoft IT Forum 2005 in Spain.

Microsoft Dynamics GP is the first application to be released in Wave One, the first phase for Microsoft's next generation of applications.

The new GP delivers 21 role-based desktops; a Microsoft Office-like user interface; new Business Analysis Cubes for MS Excel; enhanced reach and functionality of the Windows SharePoint services portal; improved integration with MS Dynamics CRM; new Web Services access points to core objects; and also includes Visual Studio 2005. Overall, the new release has 170 enhancements from last year's MBS Great Plains edition.

Pricing for the MS Dynamics GP Standard Edition starts at $3,500, and the Professional Edition starts at $7,500. The new ERP can be purchased in selected regions and countries through MS resellers.

EDS SETTLES TAX SOFTWARE DISPUTE: Electronic Data Systems Corp. will pay the U.K. government $122 million to settle a dispute over a faulty system that the tech company supplied to administer tax credits.

Technical problems plagued the system launched by EDS in April 2003. H.M. Revenue and Customs had threatened to sue the company after dropping it as its main contractor for information technology in 2003. Specific terms of the agreement were not announced.

Through 2004, the computerized Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credits system awarded billions in tax credits to nearly 6 million families, but as many as one-third of those recipients were overpaid that year, according to a government report published in September. The report said that the typical overpayment was between 10 percent and 14 percent, caused by both fraud and error.

EDS, based in Texas, provided IT services for HMRC under an outsourcing contract from 1994 through 2004, and still does other work for the U.K. government. The company said that the settlement spared it potentially huge legal costs.

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