Microsoft entered the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) market in April 2001 with the purchase of Great Plains, one of the leading US software packages. The year after, in July 2002, Microsoft purchased European competitor Navision Software (the largest acquisition in Microsoft history) who was successfully competing with Great Plains and Solomon in the US market and had a huge presence on the European market in the Mid Market segment.
Everybody knew at that point that Microsoft was very serious about the ERP market but its strategy was not clear to their customers or partners. After two acquisitions, Microsoft had four product lines , Solomon, Navision and Axaptathat were competing on the market for the same customers. Microsoft had to make a very difficult strategic decision in choosing one of the three main directions to move forward: