The channel is divided over Microsoft's possible acquisition of accounting and ERP vendor Navision.
Earlier this week, Navision confirmed that it is considering a "strategic transaction", after a story in the UK's Financial Times newspaper reported that Microsoft is close to completing negotiations for the purchase of the Danish software company.
Microsoft is expected to pay about $US1.2 billion for the company, the Financial Times said. It spent $1.1 billion on a US business software developer, Great Plains Software last year. Both Navision and Great Plains develop business-planning software for small and medium companies.
Navision has released a statement in response to the rumours, saying that it "can confirm that it is considering a possible strategic transaction". Director of corporate communications Søren Christensen would not expand on this, saying that "'strategic transaction' is a deliberately broad term that could cover many things and I cannot add anything to the wording".
Microsoft, likewise, would not comment on the report.
Nevertheless, the reports have drawn confusion among Navision's channel partners in Australia. "It's hard to know what's going on without knowing [Microsoft's] reasons for buying it," said one reseller.
Open Systems Technology's Glenn Nanda is one strong Navision partner who does not want to see the takeover go ahead. "We feel it shouldn't happen," he said. "If you look at Great Plains' business, it has lost market share since Microsoft took over. [Navision] is going well on its own and a lot of that has to do with its partners. There's no need to dampen that enthusiasm."
Peter Maggs of Data#3 said the company has no official line as yet but being a strong partner of both Microsoft and Navision, he would not be too concerned about a possible merger.
Maggs said it would be unlikely to affect channel partners in the same way Microsoft's acquisition of Great Plains had. "Navision has a rock-solid 100 per cent channel model, which differs it from Great Plains," he said. "It would be harder to muddy the waters."
One observer in the accounting software market said that, considering the strong development partnership between Navision and Microsoft, an acquisition would not be too much of a surprise. But Ian Warner, of Tasmania's Information Solutions Works, said he was also unsure of why the software giant would be interested in Navision, given its previous acquisition of Great Plains. "I don't know why Microsoft would be interested in having multiple products like that," he said. "How would you put them together?"
Warner said he would have thought that other large vendors that do not have business management software with such global reach (IBM, for example) would be more likely to be in pursuit of the accounting software developer.