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The Saga of MYOB, Mamut and Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Mamut buys MYOB UK

MYOB Technology Pty (Australia) pulled out of the UK market in May 2008 with the intention of either selling or closing the UK operation. Mamut Software ASA of Norway bought the MYOB UK Business Division later that year. Initially they told consultants that MYOB licences would be safe.

Mamut announced that file reconfirmations would stop on December 31st 2011. File reconfirmations had become necessary since MYOB lodged Digital Rights Management in their software five years earlier – supposedly to protect themselves from software piracy. The server which logs the licence reconfirmations is apparently owned and operated by MYOB Technology Pty in Australia.

After some pressure from MYOB specialists Mamut decided to upgrade MYOB Mac products to version 19. This upgrade was purchased from the North Amercian distributors of MYOB, Acclivity LLC. In 2011 they issued version 20. In 2009 Mamut brought in QTAC as a replacement for the MYOB Payroll and DOSH as a cashbook system for PCs.

Meanwhile Mamut stopped selling MYOB products for PC.

Mamut software

Mamut are now the sole distributor of MYOB products in the UK. They are offering a migration path for PC users to the equivalent Mamut product.  However Mamut One is not a product we would recommend. Compared with MYOB it is difficult to use.  It is expensive.

Mamut have claimed they do not control the licence agreement for the MYOB software, nor the licence activation process. Mamut have said that they do not have the option to continue to sell, support or licence the MYOB products beyond the dates determined by MYOB Technology Pty. However they are prepared to issue confirmation codes for MYOB if you pay for a Mamut Enterprise licence.  We have also seen examples of them selling extra licences.

It is clear that Mamut have the ability to create an upgrade route for Mac MYOB datafiles. It seems to be a commercial decision (rather than a technical or legal decision) that they refuse to do so for PC users.  The reason is probably simply that Mamut believe that their existing PC products offer a viable alternative to MYOB.  They have therefore encouraged MYOB PC users to accept various upgrade offers to mamut One.

Mamut claim there are many customers who have successfully and happily migrated to their PC products. The feedback we have received is that those who have tried Mamut’s PC products find them either hard to use, weaker at key functionalities, or expensive, or a mixture of these three.  Some, are threatening legal action.  Some have just surrendered their Mamut licences and walked away. The Mamut Mac upgrade Mamut AccountEdge has fared better. Most users we have spoken to seem happy. However some ex-MYOB MYOB users also resent being asked to pay a compulsory annual support fee merely to be able to view historic data.

VISMA acquire Mamut

On 5th July 2011 Nowegian software house VISMA acquired Mamut asa under the Norway Stock Exchange. At 12 Norwegian Kronas, Mamut Enterprise makes £80 million.  This compares to the £1million paid by Mamut for the MYOB UK franchise. Mamut has been delisted from the Norwegian stock exchange as it is no longer an independent company.

We wrote to ask that the new owners of Mamut ASA consider licencing a PC MYOB product for distribution in the UK.  He didn’t reply.  The CEO of the new parent firm in the UK can be reached at  No news, in this situation, is not good news.

MYOB Australia Stall the Decision to Sunset MYOB UK products

On December 7th 2011 MYOB Australia announced that it would continue to provide Activation and Confirmation functions for MYOB UK products beyond 31 December 2011. They suggested that this was following ‘a number of requests from continuing users of these products for an extension of this date’. We suspect the formation of the MYOB User Group was a key reason.

However they stressed that users should still take action to plan a transition to a replacement accounting system.
MYOB Announcement

Microsoft Office Accounting

Mamut has also provided a similar sunset service for Microsoft Office Accounting since 2009. In practice this has meant a paid-for support service, and various options to convert to Mamut’s PC product.

UK MYOB User Group

In October 2011 Simple Accounting Ltd joined with other MYOB users to form the MYOB User Group to provide manual file reconfirmations and support users.  By January 2012 it has over 200 members and is successfully issuing confirmation codes.

The Association continues to provide free phone support. Many MYOB users are unfortunatley experiencing problems with online file confirmations.