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Intuit to Buy Mint, Collecting a Competitor

Two of the bigger competitors in the growing category of Web-based personal-finance software will become properties of the same company: Intuit announced yesterday that it planned to buy Mint.com, perhaps the best-known provider of these services -- and my own favorite among them.

intuit_mint.jpg

Intuit's press release outlined the basic terms of the proposed acquisition: It values Mint at about $170 million and should close in the fourth quarter of this year if regulatory approvals go well. The company plans to keep both Mint.com and Quicken Online as separate Web services and will continue to develop its desktop Quicken software. It also will put Mint founder Aaron Patzer in charge of its personal-finance software and services.

At Mint's site, Patzer wrote in a blog post that the deal "could bring Mint.com's unique approach to personal financial management to millions more consumers and small businesses." He also wrote that he will "play a leading role in the next phase of the evolution of Quicken."

In a phone interview yesterday, Intuit publicist Scott Gulbransen explained that Patzer's input won't show up in desktop Quicken releases for a little while yet. The next Windows version is ready to ship, and the already-late Mac release, now due in February, is too far along for major changes. Gulbransen also said that Mint.com and Quicken Online will remain free to use.

Patzer, in turn, provided more details of his plans in an e-mail last night:

If the deal is approved, and closed, Quicken Online will be powered by Mint technology. Basically, when you go to QuickenOnline.intuit.com, it will just like Mint.com, but reskinned in black and red Quicken colors with a Quicken logo. We also plan to import Mint categorization technology, and our savings engine (Ways to Save) inside Quicken Desktop.

The combination of these two Mountain View, Calif., firms will leave other competitors intact. There's Wesabe, which I liked more in my first review than the second time around. There's also Yodlee MoneyCenter, the consumer service of the Redwood City, Calif., firm that handles back-end data-transfers for sites like Mint and Quicken Online.

Do you use Mint or Quicken Online? If so, what's your take on this development? If you use another service -- or are still deciding whether you want to move from desktop to Web-based financial tools -- does this merger make any difference to you?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  September 15, 2009; 11:48 AM ET
Categories:  Productivity  
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Comments

Honestly, I use Numbers on the Mac. Being able to have multiple sheets (Income, Expenses, Net plus or minus) on one screen is very nice. And since I don't track to the penny it's Good Enough.

Posted by: wiredog | September 15, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I use Mint and count me amongst the people afraid this will only make Mint crappier. If it's a matter of making money, how will partnering with Intuit serve that goal if the site will still be free? Unless Intuit's going to start charging for it.

Posted by: tundey | September 15, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

And what, if anything, prevents these on-line sites from being hacked by cyber crooks ???

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | September 15, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I have a Mint account so that I can access my balances on my iPhone, but prefer Yodlee's MoneyCenter since it keeps track of my airline and hotel points.

Posted by: travelfan29 | September 16, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I tried Mint and it made no sense at all. Offered me more credit cards as a way to manage my finances better.

Posted by: beastlet | September 16, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

New company name: Mintuit?

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | September 16, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

personally, I use the iPhone app Easy Money. It's a hidden gem that seems to keep improving and adding more features. I hope it turns web based

Posted by: emartinez505 | September 20, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

This is quite sad. It will at best dilute Mint's (up-to-now) growing value to the user, at worst destroy it.

Mint was superior to Quicken in every way save one: Mint's inability to let users enter and categorize cash expenditures. This was - and remains - a serious defect, but one which Mint probably would have corrected in time.

I think Mint founder Aaron Patzer achieved what he wanted to - become a big enough threat to Intuit so that Intuit would buy him out, making him a fortune.

It was a good strategy. It worked.

Unfortunately, those who truly liked Mint and committed themselves to it will end up the losers here.

Posted by: Seneca32 | September 21, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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