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.