Microsoft debuts new retailer software

The company's point-of-sale software is designed to provide comprehensive information about a retailer's business.

Microsoft on Wednesday announced new point-of-sale software for small retailers.

The offering, which works with Microsoft Office System and with accounting programs, is designed to provide a comprehensive view of a retailer's business, the company said. It also features customizable touch-screen controls, and can help small retailers track and manage sales, inventory and customer information.

Technology companies are targeting the retail segment with their software and hardware offerings as demand from this sector grows. Microsoft last year signed deals with resellers ScanSource and Tech Data to distribute its software geared for high-tech cash registers. Citing research by IHL Consulting Group, Microsoft said shipments of PC-based POS terminals grew 12 percent between 2003 and 2004. Nearly 40 percent of single-store retailers are now using PC-based technology, it said.

Microsoft Point of Sale, available for $799 per single-lane license, is one of a growing number of retail products the software giant has introduced in recent years. It integrates with popular accounting programs such as QuickBooks.

By contrast, Microsoft Retail Management System, the company's existing POS software designed for small to medium-size retailers, integrates with its Great Plains offerings as well as software such as QuickBooks.