Expanding its foray into the small- and midsize-business sector, Microsoft Corp. announced last week the acquisition of Sales Management Systems Inc., a provider of retail point-of-sale software.
The deal follows directly on the heels of the companys $1.3 billion Navision A/S purchase earlier this month. SMS, of Anaheim, Calif., will be integrated with the Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions financial software division, as will Navision.
While Navision brings a healthy customer base in the typically fragmented European market, SMS brings a vertical element to Great Plains, of Fargo, N.D.
SMS and its QuickSell Commerce modules bring specific functionality to the Great Plains suite. The QuickSell Commerce module enables brick-and-mortar retailers to expand in-store capabilities to chains as well as to the Web.
The Commerce HeadQuarters module pulls and integrates point-of-sale and back-office information from multiple, store-level installations back to the main office, allowing retailers to manage from a single location.
QuickSell 2000, which is geared more for single-location stores, manages inventory such as specialty "hard" goods, "soft" goods, grocery, services and high-volume convenience store items.
SMS QuickSell applications will continue to be available as stand-alone offerings. Point-of-sale pricing starts at $990 for QuickSell 2000 and $1,200 for a single store, single register with QuickSell Commerce.
The Great Plains integration—with Great Plains Dynamics and Small Business Manager—will be available next quarter. Pricing will start at $2,285.
Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., isnt the only software maker pursuing the retail sector. Intuit Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., maker of QuickBooks accounting software for small businesses, announced last month the launch of its QuickBooks POS (Point of Sale) Solution for Retailers.
QuickBooks POS is a PC-based offering that was developed in conjunction with Retail Technologies International, which makes specialty retail management systems for larger stores and chains.
QuickBooks POS retails for about $1,499, including hardware and software, and is available now.