ERP price war? Intuit offers 20 percent off to Sage customers

Another move to snare customers in a tough market

Intuit is trying to win users at the expense of its rival The Sage Group.

Through January 31, the financial software maker will offer a 20 percent discount to customers who switch from Sage MAS 90 or BusinessWorks Accounting to Intuit's mid-market accounting and ERP software, QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.

Sage, maker of Peachtree and other related software, did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment.

Intuit's salvo is the latest in a price war in the ERP and CRM software market.

In October, NetSuite started its RenewForce program that offers to swap customers' service for NetSuite's CRM+ service for half the price of a license. NetSuite is also offering up to 100 hours of professional services to aid in the transition.

In November, Microsoft, maker of the rival Dynamics ERP and CRM software and services, said it is offering 0 percent financing for 36 months to qualified buyers through mid-March.

Analysts say that users should expect more discounting and bargains due to the economic downturn and strong competition in the ERP and CRM markets.

QuickBooks Enterprise is already cheaper than rival packages, and that helped the company win 5,000 customers who had switched to QuickBooks Enterprise from rivals in the past year, a spokesman said. QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions starts at US$3,000 for five users.

QuickBooks Enterprise has 57,000 customers, mostly small- to medium-sized businesses. Intuit has 4 million QuickBooks users, including those using its Pro and Premier versions.

The company is taking other steps as part of a new strategy that the best defense is a good offense.

In September, Intuit released a trio of Web-hosted CRM applications that complement QuickBooks Enterprise and compete against, NetSuite and Microsoft's Dynamics, all of which have targeted QuickBooks users in the past.

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