Software Briefs: Microsoft, Siebel

Software Briefs: Microsoft, Siebel

Microsoft upgrades SMB software

Microsoft has announced an upgrade to its Small Business Manager software, adding a host of features and introducing flexible pricing. The product is aimed at businesses that have outgrown off-the-shelf software packages, but have less than $US5 million in revenue and no more than 25 employees. Key additions include fixed asset management, allowing users to manage depreciation for assets such as equipment and vehicles, and new features for order and inventory management, including support for direct shipment, and management and forecasting of assembly components. Other new features include support for additional financial reporting tools from FRx Software, a Microsoft subsidiary, and business intelligence tools from Crystal Decisions.

Siebel turns to layoffs as revenue slides

Siebel Systems lived up to expectations it reset earlier this month when warning analysts and investors that revenue and profit would be below initial forecasts for the second quarter in a row. Revenue for the quarter ended June 30 was $US333.3 million, an 18 per cent drop from last year’s $US405.6 million total for the same quarter. Net income also declined, dropping 67 per cent year-over-year, from $US29.8 million to $US9.8 million. Software license revenue slid 35 per cent, to $US109.9 million. Professional services and maintenance revenue held steadier, dropping 5 per cent, to $US223.4 million. To lower operating costs, Siebel is restructuring in a move that includes cutting 490 positions. It hopes to achieve up to $US40 million in quarterly savings by mid-2004 though job cuts, the consolidating of some facilities and the elimination of others.

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