Google-Intuit Deal Could Help Small Firms Expand Reach
BY Angus Loten
The new version of QuickBooks will allow users to list on Google Maps and launch Google ad campaigns.
A new partnership between Google and Intuit is aimed at helping millions of small businesses to promote themselves online, by combining the companies' popular search and accounting services.
The deal, announced over a conference call with Intuit CEO Steve Bennett and Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Wednesday, will give nearly four million small and midsize companies that use QuickBooks, Intuit's flagship accounting software, access to a range of Google's search-engine business tools and services.
Both Google and Intuit are based in Mountain View, Calif.
The new features, which are built in to QuickBooks 2007, will enable small businesses to be listed online on Google Maps, create and manage advertising campaigns with Google AdWords, and post products with Google Base, among other benefits.
In return, Google will have access to a large share of the small-business market, which has continued to spend more advertising dollars online.
"By partnering with a leading company like Google, we bring together Intuit's strength in creating easy-to-use solutions with Google's Web expertise to offer leading-edge online services to help small businesses attract new customers," Bennett said in a statement Wednesday.
Schmitt said the partnership made it "easier than ever for small business to find and use all of the tools available to them."
The deal follows several other initiatives in recent months in which Google has targeted the small-business market, including a free software package that gives businesses access to Google's e-mail, instant messaging, and Web-page creation programs.
Still, in a recent study by Access Markets International, a small-business IT consulting firm based in New York, called accounting software the "first strategic business application that many small firms purchase, making it an important on-ramp for other business applications."
Small businesses spent more than $400 million on accounting software in 2005, according to AMI.