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Microsoft, Intuit Merge Cloud Platforms

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Microsoft and Intuit on Wednesday said they will integrate their
respective cloud platforms in an effort to encourage software developers to
write new applications for the financial reporting software firm’s
QuickBooks software.

In addition to merging the cloud-based Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) Partner
Platform with the Windows Azure platform, Intuit will install Microsoft’s
(NASDAQ: MSFT) cloud-based productivity applications in the Intuit App
Center for small businesses.

Windows Azure will be the “preferred platform” for small business cloud
application development on the Intuit Partner Platform. Company officials
said they expect the pact will spark development and distribution of new
Web-based applications for small businesses.

“Intuit and Microsoft are trusted technology partners to small business,”
Walid Abu-Hadba, vice president of Microsoft’s developer and platform
evangelism group, said in a statement. “By combining the pooled technology
assets of our developer communities, we stand to produce an outpouring of
new applications to help small businesses enhance their competitive edge.”

Company officials said the union will create a development community of
more than 750,000 firms and channel partners.

Microsoft developers will now have access to Intuit’s customer base, just
ahead of the frenetic tax season, while Intuit developers will be able to
use Microsoft’s development cloud and tools to improve financial reporting

In July, Intuit launched
, an open source developer community to build new
Software-as-a-Service applications for small businesses on the Intuit
Partner Platform.

The site offers early access to code, toolkits and documentation for the
Intuit Partner Platform. By collaborating, sharing and improving platform
components, developers can build their own businesses faster and leverage
the existing library of applications and tools developed for the Intuit

The strategy of increasing the pool of developers working on its platform
is just one component of Intuit’s aggressive strategy to build its brand
through acquisitions and offer its most popular applications through the

Intuit in September shelled out $170 million in cash for
, an online provider of personal finance software applications.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for
technology professionals.

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