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Microsoft To Run Out Of Money (The Program, That Is)

One of the oldest two-program rivalries in the personal-computing business ended yesterday when Microsoft announced that it would stop selling its Money Plus line of personal-finance applications after June 30.

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.

(What was it that I was just saying about the risks of storing your data in proprietary formats that can be rendered obsolete overnight at a company's whim?)

A frequently-asked-questions page on the Redmond, Wash., software firm's site explains that this announcement covers the entire Money product line, from the $19.99 Money Essentials to the $29.99 Money Plus Home and Business. Existing users will be able to keep using their software as long as they want, but they'll lose access to the online services that provide account-data downloads and bill-payment features no later than Jan. 31, 2011:

For Money Plus Deluxe, Premium and Home & Business customers, online services expire two years after initial activation or Jan. 31, 2011, whichever is earlier; for Money Plus Essentials it is one year after activation or Jan. 31, 2011, whichever is earlier.

At that point, a Money user would have to type in every transaction by hand or manually import downloaded account statements -- turning the program into the rough equivalent of a printed checkbook register with a built-in calculator.

Microsoft's move amounts to a surrender to its longtime competitor Intuit. That Mountain View, Calif. company's Quicken family of programs will be the only big-name application left on the market -- though such lesser-known options as Moneydance and iBank may now win some business from abandoned Money users. But in shelving Money, Microsoft is also surrendering to the increasingly popular Web-based personal-finance applications -- Quicken Online, Mint.com, Wesabe and so on -- that automatically synchronize their records with those of your financial institutions and eliminate the mind-numbing chore of account reconciliation.

I'd like to hear from the Money users out there: Where do you go now? What's your next move?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  June 11, 2009; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  Productivity  
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Comments

I'm a longtime personal finance app user. Was a Parson's Money user starting circa 1990 then moved on to MS Money and it's various incarnations sometime in the mid-1990's. Will now have to go to Quicken.

Posted by: lamaccountant1 | June 11, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I've been using an ancient version (I think '99 or 2000) of Money and never really felt a need to upgrade. I guess it's mostly out of habit and for a long-term record of my spending, and I don't mind typing in the transactions. I still pay all my bills online and use Mint.com for tracking most trends, but there are still some things it can't do that Money can. Like track all the deductions from my paycheck and where they go.

I've moved this version of Money over several computers and several operating systems. I suspect I'll keep using it until I either lose the disc or I get an OS that can't run it.

I suppose ultimately that's the real problem - if nothing they've done in a decade has been enough of an improvement for me to upgrade to a new version, that can't be sustainable.

Posted by: misere | June 11, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Bummer. It's not that I love the program, I don't, it's that once you commit and get it going, it's a pain in the tuchus to switch.

Quicken? Or online.... hmmmmm....

Posted by: JkR- | June 11, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I am a former MS Money user. I wasn't one of those that bought new versions every year though. But I switched to Mint last year. First I had to get over my fear of giving my credentials to Mint. But once I did, it's far better to be able to access Mint from any computer.

Posted by: tundey | June 11, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Quicken user and could care less about MS Money, so no loss to me, but, tell me again, oh cloud vendors, why I should let any of you aggregate my multiple bank accounts, brokers, mutual fund accounts, and retirement accounts on one of your servers in the cloud so that I have convenient access while YOU have the ability to have a security breach such that all my financial information, feeble though it may be, is available to the hacker who eventually cracks your security. I cannot understand the apparent lack of concern for this likely event that users of the financial aggregator sites appear to exhibit. I much prefer to keep this information on my own computer and be responsible for backing it up and securing it. When I lose the data, I can go online and recover it bit by bit from the individual accounts, but I have not revealed my many account credentials to any single entity.

I will avoid doing so for as long as possible. Long live the desketop - at least for certain applications.

Posted by: Arlington4 | June 11, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

This is a shock and I wonder how it might affect Windows sales. I'm a Mac user with MS Money running in Parallels on Windows. Money is the only reason for my using Windows at all. In fact, if Apple had a decent financial program and it wasn't too hard to change over, I would already be gone (assuming my bank uses it). The comment assumes that Quicken for Mac is as bad as I've heard. I guess Microsoft figures that users like me will just change to Quicken for Windows and go right on installing Windows on their Macs.

Posted by: jpnjr1 | June 12, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

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