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TornadoIf you were reading this blog last year then you may remember Sage proving they were worried and clueless – worried about SaaS, and clueless about how a small firm like KashFlow can use the internet to get our story heard.

After we stole their thunder they reported us to Trading Standards over a pricing comparison on our site. Because of their aggressive approach towards us, when I then found security holes in their attempt at SaaS, Sage Live,  I blogged about it instead of quietly telling them.

The combination of a flawed product and their bullying antics resulted in a torrent of bad PR, including Daniel Goldman (son of the late, great Sage founder David Goldman) writing on his blog that Sage should have kept schtum.

Well, today I’ve agreed a resolution with Newcastle Trading Standards. We agreed that it’d take considerable time and resources on my part to prove my case (reckon Sage knew that?) and the easiest thing is for us just to remove the comparison that they objected to so we can focus on growing the business. A bit of an anticlimax for those of you expecting blood and gore in the tornado I’m afraid.

Sage Live itself also seems to have been a huge anti-climax. Everyone in the SaaS accounting industry was excited about Sage entering the foray. But just as quickly as it arrived, it was taken offline to “as a precaution” after my post about their security issues. Their line to the media has been that it’ll be back as soon as the issues are fixed. That was 3 months ago. I’ve been hearing on the grapevine that the problems are so fundamental that it’ll never be back – not in anything like it’s former guise anyway. As if to confirm those rumours, I’ve had recruitment agencies in touch this week touting CVs of developers and sales people that worked on the Sage Live project.

It would seem that when it comes to Sage and the Cloud – they’re in an Egpytian river. Paul Walker, their CEO, yesterday told silicon.com:

In the back office accounting area, business solutions, we’re seeing very small, slow growth in terms of demand [for cloud computing]. We have a number of products that meet that demand that so far is  relatively modest.

He did go on to make some more positive noises, but I don’t think he realises what’s going on in the industry right now, today. Not in 3 – 5 years.

It seems Sage are really tightening their belts at the moment with a round of redundancies being offered. Not surprising you’d think given the recession. But we’re recruiting and so are at least 4 other SaaS accounting companies that I know.

Two other contrasting bits of news recently: Salesforce.com, the darling of the SaaS industry, recently passed $1bn in revenue. Whilst Microsoft, the grandaddy of installed-software, have reported their first year-on-year fall in revenue for 23 years.

I read once that the short-term impact of new technology is often overestimated (hence the dot com bubble), whilst the long-term impact is usually underestimated. I’m inclined to agree.

Thanks to @10Yetis for the heads-up on the silicon.com article

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