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Intuit ups SMB cloud credentials with Demandforce buy

$425m in cash for cloud marketing machine

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With the US tax season largely out of the way Intuit, makers of Quicken and TurboTax financial software, has paid $425m for SaaS marketing operation Demandforce to make a bigger play for the lucrative SMB cloud sector.

Demandforce has around 35,000 customers in the US and Canada and offers a package of marketing and communications tools aimed at using Facebook, Twitter, and other social and reputation sites to promote small businesses. The purchase is part of Intuit's efforts to move beyond the financial sector and into a more full-service industry cloud vendor.

"This acquisition is right on strategy with helping service-based, appointments-based businesses retain customers, manage customers and retain their long-term reputation," Kiran Patel, general manager of Intuit's small business group told The Register.

He said a number of overseas vendors had expressed interest in using Intuit's services, with Brazil named as a likely candidate. Intuit recently split with Aussie partner Reckon in an apparently unrelated move.

The buy, not Intuit's biggest but certainly the largest in recent years, is intended to move the company out of a highly profitable niche SaaS sector into the bigger cloud world for SMBs. While the biggest vendors are concentrating on clouding up their enterprise customers, Intuit sees a good market in smaller businesses that wouldn’t attract the same interest from the big cloud players.

Demandforce won't see many changes, being run as a subsidiary of Intuit, with no major redundancies expected besides the usual back office functions. The deal is expected to close next month and Intuit reports it should add a few points to its business for now.

"Demandforce will continue to be run by the same management team that built the company, and we are committed to pursuing our mission, preserving our culture of innovation, and delivering overwhelming value to our customers each and every day," said Demandforce founder Rick Berry, who faces a very nice personal payday, in a blog post. ®

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