Microsoft announced this morning that it will purchase Navision, Europe's fifth-largest software company, in a deal valued at $1.33 billion. The purchase further diversifies Microsoft's software offerings and increases the company's presence with small and midsized businesses. Navision is Europe's leading supplier of end-to-end business solutions, a role Great Plains plays in the United States. (Microsoft purchased Great Plains last year for about $1 billion.) Navision's products include Attain/Financials, Axapta, and XAL.

"The combined vision, business strategy, and product offerings of Microsoft and Navision will provide great benefits to small and mid-market customers and will create strong growth opportunities for Microsoft," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "Many business processes in these companies are not yet benefiting from the efficiencies that technology offers. Microsoft and the Navision team together are committed to delivering compelling and powerful solutions and products to this important and large market segment, through our partners, that will enable businesses to be more competitive, agile, and productive."

After Microsoft completes the purchase, Navision will become part of Microsoft's Business Solutions Division and Navision's Denmark headquarters will become the center of development and operations for Microsoft Business Solutions in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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