Software giant Microsoft treated itself with a $1.1B Christmas present; it announced an agreement to acquire its long-term partner Great Plains Software, a business application provider for the low-end of the market. Will this move alienate Microsoft from a slew of other partners competing in the same space, even as the rumors of yet another antitrust legal action abound?
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market should also watch how autonomous and independent from Redmond HQ will Great Plains'' division run. Despite the long-term partnership, the companies'' cultures are very different, particularly in terms of service & support and product release quality. While there are some indications that the business will continue to be as usual, Microsoft may eventually decide to streamline Great Plains'' diverse, possibly redundant, product mix. Further, like in Oracle''s case, while some customers will buy into the