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Intuit Extends Cloud Pact with Microsoft

Intuit this week said it will "double down" on its partnership with Microsoft to integrate its Intuit Partner Platform (IPP) with the Windows Azure platform for those looking to build Software as a Service (SaaS) apps.

The two companies had jointly announced in January 2010 that Intuit would name Windows Azure as a preferred platform for cloud application development on the IPP. To facilitate that, they developed and released the Windows Azure SDK for the IPP.

In parallel, though, Intuit had its own Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud aimed at providing an end-to-end service for partners. Alex Chriss, director of the IPP, said in a blog post that while it helped some partners get to market, it lacked the scale that would appeal to its developer community.

"While we've continued to invest in our native platform, other platforms have moved at lightning speed," Chriss wrote. "These platforms have evolved way past anything we could create and honestly provide a better development experience than we could."

As a result, Intuit said it will no longer offer its native development stack for developers. Instead, the company plans to focus on the top of the stack to make data and services for developers a top priority. Hence, the decision to extend its reach with Azure.

"We believe with additional investment in our Windows Azure SDK for IPP, we can make developing an app on Azure, leveraging QuickBooks data and IPP's go-to-market services, and getting into the Intuit App Center Channel, DROP DEAD EASY," Chriss wrote.

A forthcoming 2.0 release of the SDK will provide support for one-click publishing and authentication of federated IPP and Intuit Anywhere apps hosted on Windows Azure, Microsoft said on the Windows Azure Team blog. The companies did not say when they will release the new SDK.

The two companies have launched a program called the Front Runner for Intuit Partner Platform, where developers can get access to SDKs, content and support; test their applications' compatibility; and then publish apps to the Intuit App Center, a marketplace of small-business applications and services.

"If you're a member of the Front Runner Program (for third party developers) then you'll also benefit from technical and business support that simplifies getting your apps hosted onto Windows Azure, while also integrating with QuickBooks data," wrote Liz Ngo, senior business development manager in Microsoft's Global ISV Group, in a blog post. "Once you are on-boarded, Intuit & Microsoft will promote your application to Intuit's 26 million (and growing) SMB customers."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 08/11/2011 at 1:14 PM


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