Software vendors 'encourage' laggard upgraders to stay current

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In a world of tightening revenues, some software vendors are adopting aggressive approaches to extract additional revenue from existing customers. In the case of accounting software, the vendors are "encouraging" users to upgrade by limiting online subscription services to only current versions of the software. In the case of QuickBooks, Intuit turned off payroll tax updates, credit card processing, and other online services for anyone using QuickBooks 2007 as of May 31, 2010.

Presently accounting software vendors such as Intuit and Sage offer such online services to the three most current versions. In the case of QuickBooks, that's the 2008, 2009, and 2010 versions. Intuit typically releases new versions around the start of a calendar year, so expect support for QuickBooks 2008 to end next year after QuickBooks 2011 arrives.

In the early days of accounting software, it was often important to upgrade the program each year, because each new release often offered badly needed new functionality or ease of use. As accounting programs have matured, it's harder for the software vendors to add in compelling new features that entice everyone to upgrade immediately, so the current approach to continuing product sales is to restrict access to subscription services.

For several years accounting software vendors would limit technical support and patches to only the current versions, but limiting online services to only the current versions further closes the net around laggard upgraders. To be sure, anyone who doesn't rely on an online service such as payroll tax updates can continue to use that version of QuickBooks 98 far into the future. Granted, software vendors need revenue too, as it's tough to stay in business long term if most of your customers only buy your product once and you never hear from them again. In any case, it's important factor periodic upgrades into your budget if you choose to purchase one or more subscription services from your accounting software vendor.

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