Microsoft Takes ERP Fight Directly to Sage

By Carolyn April  |  Posted 2009-07-22 Print this article Print

Microsoft went for blood this week against Sage Software, one of the Redmond, Wash., software giant's leading rivals in the ERP and business software space.

Microsoft called into question the stability of Sage's channel, citing the shuttering earlier this month of MIS Group, one of Sage's largest partners for two years' running.

"Microsoft Dynamics offers innovative products and strong return on investment, which is exactly what customers and partners are looking for -- especially when questions have arisen about Sage's ability to deliver ongoing innovation and investment in its ERP portfolio and remain competitive in this marketplace," said Crispin Read, general manager for Microsoft Dynamics ERP.

The statement appeals directly to Sage partners and customers, "inviting" them to consider Microsoft as an alternative.

In an unusually overt competitive recruitment plea for Microsoft, the company touted the opportunity Dynamics partners have to create solutions on other Microsoft platform products such as Sharepoint that are not available to them with Sage. Microsoft also talked up its incentives arsenal that partners can use to get customers to make the switch. Partners, for example, can give customers who move to a Microsoft Dynamics ERP solution a 50 percent discount on licensing and receive a rebate equal to 25 percent of the suggested retail price of the Microsoft Dynamics solution (up to a maximum of $25,000) to help offset the costs of switching from Sage MAS 90 or MAS 200.

Interesting times at Microsoft. As the company tries to move into new categories far out of the comfort zone of its market-dominating Windows and Office franchises, it has become increasingly aggressive in its recruitment, marketing, sales and incentives initiatives. Many of those involve its partners, whom the company is incenting with higher margins to push so-called category products such as unified communications, search and mobility. Dynamics applications fall into that category.

As CEO Steve Ballmer made it clear during his recent keynote at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner conference, the company will do whatever it takes to win in these new markets, even if they stumble repeatedly along the way.


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