David and Goliath 2.0

It’s always a little disconcerting to see the big boys come down hard on the little guys. Here in New Zealand we recently had the story of luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo threatening legal action over local website Kookychoo. Bear in mind that Kookychoo isn’t a fashion site and neither does it sell shoes.

In a similar vein I read the other day that KashFlow (CloudAve review here) is being threatened with legal action by BigCo Accounting software vendor Sage. It seems the KashFlow pricing page includes a comparison chart with other accounting products (image, with my super advanced airbrushing, below).

One of these products is Sage’s TAS Books 3 product. Seems Sage are somewhat miffed that KashFlow is using their product as a comparison and has taken their complaint to the local Trading Standards office saying that it is unfair and that it;

is likely to cause a detriment to Sage (UK) Limited by inducing potential customers to purchase alternative software solutions on the basis of erroneous and misleading information

Now I don’t know and frankly don’t care if TAS is a comparable product to KashFlow but as the inimitable Dennis Howlett writes;

it strikes me as odd that a £1 billion plus company should be going after a minnow like KashFlow

And that is the crux of the matter – SaaS is coming and the traditional vendors have been, and seem to continue to be, caught out by its ascendency. Rather than seemingly vexatious attempts to quash an underling, they should use their large resource pools, and put it to work building a product that is compelling. At least Sage has tried, releasing an initial SaaS product (more here) – although it has to be said they only need to talk to the community to avoid a number of the mistakes they made. And therein lies the problem – big business is just to slow, to lethargic, too busy complying and turf protecting to win under the new paradigm.

The corporation is dead!

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Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. His business interests include a diverse range of industries from manufacturing to property to technology. As a technology commentator he has a broad presence both in the traditional media and extensively online. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

More about Ben here.

6 responses to “David and Goliath 2.0”

  1. schultzter

    I’ve heard this counter argument before (but I’m not a lawyer so don’t know how valid it is) that if you let one person get away with something (like an invalid comparison) then you’re opening the door for everyone to do it. So unfortunately the big guys need to drop on the little guys or else the other big guys (their real competitors) will take it as an invitation to do the same.

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    [..] Some people have said that Jackson was less-than-gentlemanly in exposing Sage to such public embarrassment when he could have contacted them privately. But then perhaps he’d have been more kindly disposed towards the software giant had it notreported his small startup to trading standards authoritiesfor daring to cite a Sage package in a comparison table on its website. Sage has gifted Jackson the role of plucky entrepreneur taking on a foe against impossible odds — in the mold of action heros from [..]

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