Intuit as a Webhost?07 Nov 2010
I live in San Diego and thus am proud to have a tech giant like Intuit here to make us San Diego Technology guys proud. They do a great job at hosting local events and are instrumental in recruiting talent to this area so think of this post as my way of thanking them for helping our community. Recently I noticed that Intuit has decided to get into the website hosting business, it seems to make sense right? I mean they provide their Tax and Business software to a lot of small businesses so it would make sense that they want to also provide websites for their employees that syncs up well to the software they have at the office. If Intuit plans to stay within the hosting space then great, but if not then they should learn a lesson from PayPal and create a great API that Content Management System developers can take advantage of.
Everyone knows that businesses need to focus on building platforms that others can work with and develop on. This is the fastest growing segment of the net and accounts for the major success of companies like Google and Facebook and it’s also the reason why Microsoft and others made so much money in the software business. They’re success had to do with the idea of building dependency not just from customers but from other businesses who depended on their companies survival and thus would be interested in helping them make the product better.
Intuit has done one side of this so far in that they created great software that many businesses need and have really killed a very untargeted small business market with their well created and maintained software. Yet in branching into the web space they miss the opportunity of doing something even better, creating a monitization platform that links to their clients software for others to develop on. PayPal has succeeded because they decided to give up the reigns of control to developers and thus any business can do business online and have their payments made through PayPal. What’s missing right now in this space is what Intuit has, a way for small companies to keep better records of those transactions online.
Intuit should consider developing plugins or application add-ons for some of the largest E-Commerce engines out there like Zencart or osCommerce that would allow small companies already using these tools to easily integrate with their Quickbooks or Turbotax. They should also consider building tools for Content Management Software like WordPress, Drupal and others that is either free or attached to their own service so that businesses can choose where they want to go for their website development and still be dependent on Intuit for their main business functions. The truth is that Intuit will never get as good as website development as the big boys so why enter a market that’s already saturated, if they focus on creating systems that are adaptive and can integrate with other website components then maybe, just maybe their web business will be as big if not bigger than PayPal’s.