Intuit and Google Forge Alliance
Combines the Power of QuickBooks with Google’s Reach to Help Small Businesses Attract New Customers
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Sept. 13, 2006 – Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) and Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) announced today a strategic alliance designed to help millions of small businesses promote themselves online using a variety of popular Google services built into most QuickBooks® 2007 products. The alliance combines Intuit’s deep knowledge and experience solving small business problems with Google’s expertise and reach on the Web to help small businesses address their number one objective – attracting new customers.
For the first time, small businesses can use QuickBooks to market themselves online by listing their businesses on Google Maps™, creating and managing advertising campaigns with Google AdWords™ and posting their products for sale on Google through Google Base™ – a free product listing service. Integrated into QuickBooks 2007, available this fall, QuickBooks customers will have the ability to attract new customers using Google, the world’s leading search engine.
"Intuit is committed to partnering with best-in-class companies to help solve important customer problems," said Steve Bennett, president and chief executive officer of Intuit. "By partnering with a leading company like Google, we bring together Intuit’s strength in creating easy-to-use solutions with Google’s Web expertise to offer leading-edge online services to help small businesses attract new customers."
Research by Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc., a leading technology analyst group, found that more than 50 percent of small businesses in the U.S. believe they can use the Internet for sales, marketing and customer support to help grow their business and strengthen customer relationships. This alliance addresses this need by helping small businesses quickly and easily use the Web as an effective marketing tool.
"This alliance combines the strengths of both Google and Intuit to deliver innovative online technologies that help small businesses succeed in an increasingly competitive business environment," said Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google. "By adding key Google services into the world’s most popular accounting product, we’re making it easier than ever for small businesses to find and use all of the tools available to them."
Two Companies, One Powerful Solution
QuickBooks 2007 will include several services that provide an easy way for small businesses to use Google to get their businesses and products noticed on the Internet – right from an icon on the QuickBooks Home page.
Google AdWords – Currently used by hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide to gain new customers in a cost-effective way, AdWords relies on keywords to precisely target the delivery of an ad to Web users seeking information about a particular product or service. Starting with $50 in Google AdWords credits, QuickBooks users can use AdWords to advertise themselves online.
QuickBooks users can select search terms related to their product or service and create customized ads that show up when shoppers search on Google for those products or services. This feature gives small businesses full control over their budgets, allowing them to stop or pause their campaign, monitor their spending or change their advertising messages at any time.
First Crush Wine Bar and Restaurant (www.firstcrush.com), a San Francisco restaurant, found that using AdWords tripled the number of visitors to its Web site and now provides 25 percent of the restaurant’s leads.
"With more than 4,000 restaurants in San Francisco, you need to stand out above the crowd, which means getting as much visibility as possible," said Shahram Bijan, owner of First Crush Wine Bar and Restaurant. "Before joining AdWords, our Web site received about 200 unique visitors each day. Today, that number has more than tripled."
Google Maps – Businesses using QuickBooks can more easily be found online with a free business listing – even if the business does not have a Web site. Google Maps gives QuickBooks users a tool to reach qualified prospective customers by simply creating and managing an online business listing. The mapping capability allows customers to find a business, see a satellite image of it and get driving directions. The feature also lets small businesses provide information such as their hours of operation, payment forms accepted and printable coupons. The listing can be updated at any time by the business owner, which means the business listing is always relevant and topical.
QuickBooks Product Listing Service – Product-based businesses will now have the ability to turn local shoppers into their customers with the new QuickBooks Product Listing Service, which will be in Beta at time of the QuickBooks 2007 launch. Small businesses can let online shoppers know they carry a specific product by using this service to make their merchandise searchable on Google through Google Base. Powered by technology from StepUp Commerce, Inc., recently acquired by Intuit, this feature enables users to automatically transfer inventory information to Google Base and attract local buyers to their shops.
Research by iProspect, a leading search engine marketing firm, found that 47 percent of consumers who researched a product online drove to a store and bought the product during the 2005 holiday shopping season. Additionally, 63 percent of those who researched online went to a retailers’ Web site for product information – more than to any other type of online site.
"QuickBooks continues to expand the problems we solve. The product listing service helps businesses attract new customers by making their products findable on the Web," said Brad Smith, senior vice president of Intuit’s Small Business Division. "This is the first step in creating an open and connected community that builds value around small business data."
Greater Efficiency and Ease-of-Use
Intuit will also incorporate Google’s powerful search engine, Google Desktop™, into QuickBooks 2007 so users will be able to quickly find customer, vendor or financial information anywhere within QuickBooks or on their desktop. For security, the new tool can search QuickBooks data only when it is accessed from within QuickBooks and is tied to QuickBooks user permissions so search results are limited by the searcher’s authorization level.
The Google marketing tools will be available with U.S. versions of QuickBooks 2007 products and services, including Simple Start, Pro, Premier, Enterprise Solutions, QuickBooks Point of Sale, Invoice Manager and Credit Card Processing Kit, which will be available in the fall of 2006. Google Desktop will be available with U.S. versions of QuickBooks 2007 Simple Start, Pro, Premier, Invoice Manager and Credit Card Processing Kit.
Media Conference Call
Intuit CEO Steve Bennett and Google CEO Eric Schmidt will host a media conference call at 1:15 p.m. PDT today to discuss this news. The teleconference replay can be accessed for 24 hours after 4pm PDT tonight at 888-266-2081. The access code is 962345.
For free video content about the Intuit and Google alliance, please log onto www.thenewsmarket.com/google to preview and request video. Registration and downloading is free to the media. Broadcast-standard video digitally or by tape is available on this site.
About Google Inc.
Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit www.google.com.
About Intuit Inc.
Intuit Inc. is a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses, consumers and accounting professionals. Its flagship products and services, including QuickBooks®, Quicken® and TurboTax® software, simplify small business management and payroll processing, personal finance, and tax preparation and filing. ProSeries® and Lacerte® are Intuit’s leading tax preparation software suites for professional accountants.
Founded in 1983, Intuit had annual revenue of $2.3 billion in its fiscal year 2006. The company has nearly 7,500 employees with major offices in 13 states across the United States, and offices in Canada and the United Kingdom. More information can be found at www.intuit.com.
Intuit, the Intuit logo, and QuickBooks, among others, are registered trademarks and/or registered service marks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries.
Cautions About Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including Intuit’s expectations regarding the QuickBooks 2007 product, services and features and related customer experience. Because these forward looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from our expressed expectations. These factors include, without limitation, the following: future products and services, including QuickBooks 2007, may not adequately address customer needs and may not achieve broad market acceptance, which could harm our operating results and financial condition; we may not be able to realize the expected benefits from the announced alliance with Google; and product introductions and price competition from our competitors can have unpredictable negative effects on our revenue, profitability and market position. More details about other risks that may affect Intuit’s business are included in our Form 10-K for fiscal 2005 and in our other SEC filings. You can locate these reports through Intuit’s web site at www.intuit.com/about_intuit/investors. Forward-looking statements are based on information as of the date of the press release, and Intuit does not undertake any duty to update any forward-looking statement or other information in this press release.