Thursday, January 21, 2010

Microsoft, Intuit Target SMBs In Cloud Deal

Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) and Intuit (NSDQ:INTU) are teaming up to make it easier for developers to build SMB-focused software-as-a-service applications that integrate with the popular Quickbooks financial application.

As part of this tie-up, Intuit on Wednesday released a Windows Azure software development kit for its Intuit Partner Platform, which comes with APIs for single sign-on, billing, and data integration. The idea is to enable Azure developers to build apps on Intuit's platform and sell them on Intuit's App Center, which already includes a range of SMB focused tools, according to Alex Chriss, director of the Intuit Partner Platform.

Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud computing development platform, is currently in production and will launch as a paid service on Feb. 1. For developers getting their feet wet in Azure, the Intuit deal offers access to Quickbook's user base of more than 27 million. Intuit channel partners, meanwhile, will gain access to a broader array of offerings.

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