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Software shorts (July 09): Kashflow BAGs Asian expansion

30th Jul 2009
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Kashflow BAGs Asian expansion

30 July - Kashflow has announced a new marketing and distribution deal with Brunei Accenture Group (BAG), a week after the SaaS accounting provider confirmed it was expanding its board and moving their headquarters to London.  The deal with BAG, a joint venture company between Accenture and the Brunei government, will see the company’s services expand into Southeast Asia, starting with the Sultanate.

In a statement, it was confirmed the software will branded ‘Ikhlas’, meaning sincerity and honesty in Brunei Malay. Faizul Yahya, team leader of the Ikhlas team, said that he had singled out KashFlow from a competitive marketplace based on its suitability for local uses. Yahya explained: “We were also very pleased with the level of local technical support and encouragement from their end. One of their strong points is the simplicity and intuitiveness of the service.”
KashFlow founder and CEO Duane Jackson said: “We’re really pleased to have been chosen from what is a very competitive range of SaaS accounting applications.”

Jackson added: “Entering foreign markets is always a challenge due to the cultural differences. I believe working closely with local organisations as we are here should make an overseas launch much more effective."

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SAP confirms big drop in software turnover

29 July - Business software giant SAP has published its second quarter and first half financial results.  The German company confirmed a substantial – but expected – 40% drop in software turnover for the quarter, to €543m; turnover for the six month period also declined, by 37%.

SAP blamed the result on, “the difficult operating environment worldwide due to the continued global economic downturn, and the tough comparison to the second quarter of 2008, which was prior to the economic crisis that disrupted the global markets in the third quarter of 2008.”

In a statement, Léo Apotheker, CEO of SAP said: “While the operating environment remains difficult, we are beginning to have improved visibility into the second half of the year.” During the past three months, SAP closed contracts with several commercial, educational, and governmental institutions, including the Federal Interior Ministry of Germany, Group Danone, and Boston University. The software company also released details of its on-demand strategy for large enterprises at the start of the quarter.

Whilst turnover reduced, SAP’s profit for the three months actually rose by 4%, to €423m.

“Despite the challenging economic conditions, the strength of our business model combined with a strong cost discipline has proven itself once again by enabling us to report another quarter of strong operating margin growth,” said Werner Brandt, CFO of SAP. “For the remainder of the year, we expect to maintain tight cost controls in all areas of the company.”

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Sage Q3 trading statement 'in line with expectations'

28 July - In its trading statement for the nine months to 30 June, FTSE 100-listed business software company Sage said the results were consistent with management expectations. While subscription revenues continued to grow, the company said it had successfully reduced its cost base to cope with a downturn in demand. Without providing detailed income or expense figures, the company said it had reduced its net debt by £67m to £491m.

"There has been no significant change in market conditions during the quarter ended 30 June 2009 and we are planning for markets to remain testing," said Sage chief executive Paul Walker. "However, our proven business model and large, geographically diverse, customer base give us confidence that we are well positioned for these conditions and the eventual market recovery."

Walker added that he expected to meet analysts' predictions of £1.45bn turnover for the year to 30 September, which would equate to a 12% increase on last year.

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Microsoft proposes new IE8 proposals for Europe

27 July - Microsoft’s ongoing attempts to pacify the Europe Commission has taken another step, with the proposal of introducing a web browser ‘ballot screen’ during the installation screen of Windows 7. The screen would give users the chance to pick a web browser, rather than install IE8 by default.

In a statement, Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel and senior vice president, Microsoft Corporation, said: “If this proposal is ultimately accepted, Microsoft will ship Windows in Europe with the full functionality available in the rest of the world.”

“We believe that if ultimately accepted, this proposal will fully address the European competition law issues relating to the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows and interoperability with our high-volume products. This would mark a big step forward in addressing a decade of legal issues and would be good news for European consumers and our partners in the industry.”

The EU issued the following statement in response to Microsoft’s proposal: “The European Commission can confirm that Microsoft has proposed a consumer ballot screen as a solution to the pending antitrust case about the tying of Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser with Windows.”

“The Commission welcomes this proposal, and will now investigate its practical effectiveness in terms of ensuring genuine consumer choice.”

So a quick hypothetical question: It’s October, and you’re installing Windows 7 – which browser will you choose to install?

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Digita plans autumn release for time & fees module

24 July - Exmouth-based tax and practice software developer Digita has announced that it will launch its new Time & Fees application during a 10-venue roadshow in September and October.

In addition to recording time and expenses, generating WIP reports and raising bills, the new Digita Time & Fees module will come with a User Summary Dashboard. This home page can be tailored by individual users to show a variety of key performance indicators, and to link into Digita Job Tracker tools, explained product manager Max Thomas. For dates and details of the launch events, see Digita’s news announcement.

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Microsoft profits drop 18% on back of PC slump

23 July - Microsoft’s fourth quarter turnover dropped 17% to $13.1bn for the period ending on 30 June 2009, with full year revenues of $58.4bn down 3% on the previous year. The company’s profit for the year of $14.6bn was 18% lower than last year.

“Our business continued to be negatively impacted by weakness in the global PC and server markets,” commented Microsoft chief financial officer Chris Liddell. The fourth quarter results included $276m in deferred revenue relating to the Windows 7 Upgrade Option program announced on 25 June, plus $341m in additional costs relating to its restructuring and redundancy programme.

On the positive side, the company highlighted significant product milestones during the past quarter including the releases of Windows 7 release candidate, Windows Server 2008 R2 release candidate, and the rebranded Bing search engine.

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Intuit completes acquisition of PayCycle

23 July - US business software giant Intuit has concluded its $170m acquisition of online payroll specialist PayCycle. Intuit revealed that the deal would reduce its quarterly earnings by roughly two cents per share in the period to 31 July, but said that PayCycle’s innovative platform would strengthen the company’s position as a provider of software-as-a-service for small businesses. PayCycle will now operate as part of Intuit's small business group.
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Mamut wins the 2009 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference Awards

16 July - Norwegian ERP software house Mamut was chosen from 2,000 entrants as the winner of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference Awards. Mamut One, which hooks web hosting, back-up and additional web services into Mamut’s integrated financial, HR and CRM application, is a prime candidate for recognition as it provides a tangible demonstration for what is possible with Microsoft’s “software plus services” strategy.

"In the current economic climate, SMEs need to look at every pound that they spend. A single solution for accounting, customer management, stock control, project management, web design and hosting, email, online meetings etc. costs much less than a series of individual solutions which need to be integrated," commented Mamut’s UK country manager Bryan Richter.

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