This week, Microsoft invited 250 ISVs to its Redmond, Wash., headquarters to give them a head start on the developing applications that can be integrated into forthcoming Microsoft small-business products.
Microsoft is encouraging partners to integrate with Microsoft Office SBA (Small Business Accounting) and Microsoft Office SBME (Small Business Management Edition), code-named "Magellan."
SBME will bundle Office SBA with an updated version of Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager and Office 2003. Both products are due to ship this fall.
Currently in beta, Office SBA is aimed at small-business managers. It will be available as a stand-alone product or as part of Office SBME.
With the new offerings, Microsoft is aiming squarely at companies currently using Intuits QuickBooks. The QuickBooks 2005 release included a new, in-house payroll-processing service called QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll Plus. Office SBA will include payroll services, invoices and inventory management.
On Tuesday at its ISV Forum, Microsoft announced a list of tools and resources to aid ISVs in their Office SBA development and marketing process. These included:
- Free product testing
- In-the-box promotion
- Promotion in the online Office catalog
- Development support
- Marketing support.