British users of MYOB have been warned that the accounting software they purchased will stop working at the end of the year, due to a corporate takeover of the company's UK operations.
The UK arm of MYOB was bought by Mamut in 2008 after MYOB decided to leave the UK to refocus its efforts on its home Australian market.
Mamut has provided support for MYOB products for two years, but the company will deactivate any MYOB software in the UK at the end of this year.
For copy protection and licensing reasons, MYOB software checks in with a web server every time it loads. That system will be used to deactivate the software on 31 December, 2011.
Bryan Richter, Mamut country manager for the UK, said customers had been given four years to make the switch.
"A high percentage of customers have already made the change, but we are aware that some will wait until the final deadline," Richter said. "We appreciate that this situation represents disruption to our customers and are doing our best to mitigate the impact of their chosen supplier withdrawing from the UK market."
While Windows users will have to switch to a different product, Mac users will be able to upgrade to a later version of MYOB, Richter added. "Customers have been offered discounted upgrade packages by Mamut according to whether they are on the PC or Mac platform," he said.
One MYOB customer said Mamut offered his company a free move to its software, so long as he buys a year of support.
"Either way it's going to cause a hell of a stink if they actually go through with it and disable all those company files," he said. "We're not talking little apps here, this software is critical to the operation of these enterprises."
In theory, customers could purchase an Australian version of the MYOB software, although UK users seeking support on the MYOB forums have been warned that may not be the wisest option.
"The Australia/New Zealand software makes no provision at all for VAT, or for any other UK/European tax systems, so all tax functions will be manual calculations based on what you can get out of the system," a moderator warned.
It remains unclear how many customers will be affected by the move.At the time of the Mamut acquisition in 2008, there were 20,000 active MYOB users in the UK.