MICROSOFT CORP. IS MAKING NEWS IN the home building industry like never before. Earlier this year, we reported on Microsoft's push to make its Solomon accounting system a standard with companies building 100 to 200 homes annually by combining it with BuildTopia's Web-based construction management system (see “Microsoft Moves In,” August, page 84).

Now, as part of its small-business strategy, Microsoft has formed a partnership with Huntington Beach, Calif.–based Corecon Technologies to integrate Microsoft's Small Business Accounting 2006 into Corecon's Web-based estimating, cost analysis, and project management application. The move is part of Microsoft's publicly stated goal of taking on Intuit in the small-business market. Intuit offers QuickBooks and Master-Builder, the most popular back-office software among small builders.

According to Erik Eisel, Corecon's vice president of sales and marketing, Corecon 4.0 is an out-sourced application service provider system that costs builders a flat fee of $720 per user per year. Eisel says most builders sign on for three to five users and are typically on the smaller side.