Microsoft to end sales of Money products

Microsoft announced yesterday in a very brief post to its Microsoft Money Web site that its personal financial software, Microsoft Money Plus, would no longer be available for purchase after June 30. Microsoft had discontinued annual updates of Money Plus in 2008. The company plans to support online services (including updates to tax rates and tables) for active customers through at least January 2011. After that, Microsoft will no longer issue automatic data feeds to the product. Users should consult follow-up FAQs for information about support, file conversion options, and other questions.

"With banks, brokerage firms and Web sites now providing a range of options for managing personal finances, the consumer need for Microsoft Money Plus has changed," the Company said in its announcement.

Microsoft is working with Intuit, the maker of Quicken, Money Plus's biggest rival, to provide an option for Money users. "We're working with Intuit to help develop a file conversion process that will help Money customers more easily convert their existing data files to Quicken," Microsoft director Adam Sohn said, according to CNET news. "Both Intuit and Microsoft hope this will be ready to go for the new release of Quicken this fall."

Quicken's existing converter can only transfer 10,000 transactions from Money, which is a fraction of the transactions a long-time Money user would have, says Matt Krantz of USA Today. "We're making it a priority to assess what we can do to make more Money data available and seamless to transfer," said Intuit spokesman Scott Gulbransen, according to Krantz. He also said that they were considering making special offers to Microsoft Money users.

But customers who have used the product for many years may find the file conversion challenging. Microsoft Money has been on the market for 18 years.

Gulbransen emphasized Intuit's ongoing commitment to Quicken for Windows, which it has produced for 25 years, although it offers an online version of the program. "There's nothing more important for people than managing their money," he says in USA Today. "Quicken and Intuit are committed to continue to sell and support desktop software."

"Boxed software still has a future," NPD analyst Stephen Baker told CNET news. "While the retail packaged software market is tough it is not easier to be online only. Your audience is much more limited and (the) potential customer base is much smaller when you go to the cloud. That business model is not a panacea when you are in a struggling market."

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