microsoft targets small and mid-sized businesses by targeting sm

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microsoft targets small and mid-sized businesses by targeting small and medium-sized businesses, microsoft hopes to capture a lucrative market sector, offsetting the slower growth among large-enterprise customers. this large and highly fragmented market includes small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and mid-sized firms with fewer than 500 employees. microsoft’s chief executive, steve ballmer, views this market sector as the most vital and fastest-growing segment of the economy. to serve small and mid-market customers, microsoft has developed a multiyear product plan that calls for increased investment in research and development. challenging intuit, inc. targeting small-business customers, microsoft recently introduced microsoft office small business accounting and microsoft office small business management. these offerings are designed to enable small businesses to manage all their sales, marketing, and financial processes within an easy-to-use operating environment. the software is widely available through resellers and retail outlets, including amazon.com, best buy, office depot, and staples. likewise, dell offers the software preinstalled on selected dell small-business computing systems. by introducing a small-business accounting program, microsoft is taking direct aim at intuit, inc.’s widely used quickbooks accounting software. dan levin, vice president of product management at intuit, welcomed the competition, adding that the new accounting program “marks the fourth time microsoft has attempted entry into the small business accounting software market.” intuit is the undisputed leader in this market with its quickbooks product line, but microsoft wants to build volume in the small-business accounting market. among the key battlegrounds where the two will compete head-to-head are first-time accounting software users, most heavily concentrated in the one-to-four-employee segment, that still use basic checkbook accounting and manual processes; the one-third of small businesses that upgrade or change their software annually; the more than 500,000 new small businesses created in the united states each year.discussion questions1. to succeed against rivals like intuit that specialize in small-business customers, describe the differentiating value proposition that microsoft should offer to customers.2. drawing on the balanced scorecard, describe how microsoft might realign its internal business processes (for example, operations, customer, innovation management) to achieve targeted revenue and profit goals in the small- and mid-sized business segment. what steps might intuit take to counter microsoft’s challenges?
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