Microsoft will ship the next version of Forecaster, its midmarket budgeting and planning application, in early April, the first major release of the software since 2003.
The software giant will highlight the release at its Convergence 2007 business applications conference taking place next week in San Diego.
Microsoft acquired Forecaster when it purchased applications vendor Great Plains Software in April 2001.
Forecaster is aimed at financial professionals like CEOs and budgeting managers at companies employing between 25 and 2,500 staff, which are looking to move beyond budgeting using Excel or Lotus spreadsheets or general ledger systems.
Companies can use Forecaster to access the general ledgers of any vendor's ERP (enterprise resource planning) software such as SAP and Oracle said Microsoft.
With Forecaster 7.0, Microsoft has worked to improve usability and to speed up deployment of the tool. The software has the look-and-feel of Microsoft's Office suite of desktop, but it is modelled on Office 2003, not the latest version Office 2007.
The last major release of Forecaster, version 6.7, appeared in October 2003. "It's not our intention to keep this amount of time between releases," said Gracheck.
The release supports multiple currencies, but is only available in English. The software costs from US$8,500 (£4,200).
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