Microsoft has won over Intuit with its new Azure platform. Developers who sell customized versions of QuickBooks will be encouraged to use Azure cloud hosting as the preferred home for their applications.
Intuit rolled out the Workplace App Center last year; it helps build the TurboTax and QuickBooks franchises by showcasing extensions created by independent software developers (ISV’s). Add-ons do everything from scheduling delivery routes, to managing human resources. Intuit includes links to the website in the latest versions of its software. It now has over 4 million small business customers with 25 million individual users.
The potential for selling apps into this large business base represents a potentially significant win for Windows Azure. Intuit gains a partner who can defray some of the cost of supporting a developer program.
It needs that to compete with Salesforce, which is spending heavily on its Force.com platform to support business applications.
Until this alliance happened, developers needed to use Adobe Flex to take part in the Intuit Partner Program. They can now use Microsoft’s AppFabric architecture which is built on .Net.