Microsoft today announced that the end has come for their Microsoft Money personal financial software:
Important notice: Microsoft Money Plus will not be available for purchase after June 30, 2009. All purchased Money Plus products must be activated prior to Jan. 31, 2011.
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. After suspending annual updates of Money Plus in 2008, Microsoft is announcing today that we will no longer offer Microsoft Money Plus for purchase after June 30, 2009.
Current Money Plus customers who have questions or concerns can find additional information here.
I suppose the announcement last August of the skipped 2009 update and the end of retail box sales should have been a warning, but I thought there might still have been a market for centralized personal financial planning software as opposed to all the disparate options mentioned in the announcement. There likely still is, but not for Microsoft, as Intuit is still forging ahead with Quicken:
Meanwhile, I also spoke with a spokesman for Intuit, who said that the company is looking at ways to make it easier for Microsoft Money users to bring their data over to that product.
"We look it as an opportunity to show Microsoft Money customers what they have been missing… over the years," Intuit spokesman Scott Gulbransen said.
Although Intuit has recently been bulking up its free online product, Gulbransen said that the company is committed to also offering PC-based software. "We are committed to those who would like to stay with a desktop software solution," he said.
Quicken would certainly be worth a try for committed Microsoft Money users, particularly if they offer easy data transfer from Money. As for Microsoft’s home software products, with the demise of big name offerings like Money and Encarta there’s not much left except Streets & Trips and the ubiquitous Microsoft Works.
Mary Jo Foley at ZDNET has spotted a Microsoft forum posting announcing some big changes for Microsoft’s consumer financial software package, Money Plus.
Microsoft MVP Bob Peel posting at the behest of the Money team says that there will be no annual Money Plus update for 2009 with "future release dates TBD." The reason is that "the incremental updates to the software don’t merit a new product release every year."
Moreover, Microsoft is ending all retail box sales of Money Plus because of consumer disinterest in that channel and "is focusing distribution efforts for Microsoft Money Plus software online via download."
I don’t think either action will come as a surprise to most Microsoft Money users. In recent years I’ve mostly gotten my copies as a downloadable freebie with my annual purchase of tax software and frankly don’t often bother to download it since the annual changes are minimal. However, Peel takes great pains to assure his audience that Microsoft has not pulled the plug entirely on Money Plus or on retail box sales of other Microsoft consumer software if that distribution model still fits the product.
I wonder about the latter though – with high speed Internet connections, there is really no reason to have to go to the dwindling number of brick and mortar stores that carry a more than token collection of software to purchase a shrink wrapped box. However, not everyone has a high speed connection so there would seem to always be a place for mail order box sales at least. What Microsoft is proposing is a product by product determination of when that demographic gets too small to continue supporting.