Resellers buoyed by Great Plains buyout

Resellers buoyed by Great Plains buyout

Great Plains Software claims resellers have welcomed its acquisition by Microsoft in a move designed to give the software giant a stake in the SME market for ERP applications.

Microsoft announced in late December its intention to buy the company in a stock purchase agreement valued at approximately $1.1 billion. Each share of Great Plains' common stock will be exchanged for 1.1 shares of Microsoft common stock.

Great Plains Australian marketing manager Gail Johnson yesterday described resellers' reactions to the take over as positive, and confirmed that at this stage there would not be any changes to the company's Australian operations.

"We have been working with Microsoft since 1987 and our software is wholly designed on the Microsoft platform," Johnson said.

Johnson went on to emphasise the benefits of having the weight of Microsoft behind the Great Plains label.

"We will essentially become a division of Microsoft," Johnson said. "However, Great Plains management and staff world wide will remain in place, with Microsoft overseeing operations."

Microsoft officials in the US have said the acquisition of Great Plains will help its fortunes in the business applications software market for small and medium-size companies. The combined offerings will comprise the ".NET foundation of small and medium business applications", officials said.

The .NET platform of business applications is accessible via PCs, terminals, handhelds and wireless devices, and can be deployed as hosted applications or in the conventional manner.

The joint efforts of the two companies are meant to lead to "solutions for automating interconnected business processes", said Jeff Raikes, group vice president of Microsoft's Productivity and Business Services Group, in a prepared statement.

Great Plains is set to become the Great Plains division of Microsoft, and will be overseen by Raikes and David Vaskevitch, senior vice president for the business application division, Microsoft officials said. The Great Plains division will offer services as part of Microsoft's bCentral online service for small companies.

In a separate but related move, PeopleSoft is planning to move aggressively into the mid-market with product/consulting packages targeted at firms with revenues of $500 million or less, PeopleSoft officials said. Among the first partners in this effort will be IBM, which will offer its systems integration services and its NetFinity series servers running Microsoft Windows NT.

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