The bad news is not that Sage reported its revenue for the first half ended March 31 dropped by 3 percent. The worse news is that Sage performed the same as other companies that sell mid-market financial software.

That's not much consolation to the 200 people who lost their jobs this week at Sage's headquarters in England or the 500 who were handed their walking papers in North America.

Microsoft reported an 8 percent drop in sales of its Dynamics line for the company's March quarter. Deltek was off 10.6 percent. Sage was simply the last of the major vendors in this market to announce layoffs.

Now that's somewhat the tip of the software. Sage's investor presentation showed that first-half revenue for its Business Management Division fell by 11 percent organically and there was a 22 percent contraction in software and software-related services.

Microsoft doesn't provide more detail. But nobody had a good period for new software license revenue. Deltek's license revenue fell 34 percent. and Epicor's 28.6 percent.  Blackbaud's was off 22 percent. Any good news in revenue came from elsewhere, although the market took a toll on consulting revenue and maintenance was not as strong a source of growth as usual.


However, Blackbaud also doubled its revenue to $16.7 million, and online vendor NetSuite got to crow at the expense of its on-premise rivals as the Internet-based company had a 22 percent increase in revenue for its March quarter.

 You can bet this kind of development is going to spur everyone else to new efforts in the Software as a Service world.

And while the people at Sage who lost their jobs probably won't cheer, don't feel too bad for the upper management as even with the restructuring charges Sage managed to hold its North American EBITDA margin at 18 percent year to year, and excluding them, had an increase of 2 percentage points.

 But what do you expect from a company whose upper management is dominated by accountants?

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