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Intuit ships new version of Quicken for Mac

That's one of those headlines that a lot of people never expected to see, on the order of "Nationals win pennant" or "Metro extension to Dulles opens." Intuit last shipped a new version of its Quicken personal-finances manager for Apple's Mac OS X in the summer of 2006 -- but that version exhibited the same defects as earlier Mac releases, including limited support for online banking and zero support for the Intel processors in new Macs.


In January 2008, Intuit representatives showed off a new, written-from-scratch Mac program that would be called Quicken Financial Life and ship in the summer of that year. Only it didn't. In January of 2009, Intuit again demonstrated its upcoming Mac program and said it expected to ship it that summer. Only it didn't.

Instead, Intuit announced last summer that it was giving the program yet another rewrite and would now deliver it in February of 2010. And this time, the Mountain View, Calif., company made its deadline with three days to spare.

The new Quicken Essentials for Mac -- $69.99 for Intel-based Macs running OS X 10.5 or 10.6 -- represents a major reinvention of the program. As promised, it connects to far more financial institutions: some 12,000, way up from the 4,000 supported by Quicken 2007. It can import data from old Windows releases of Quicken, as well as Microsoft's now-abandoned Money. And the application itself no longer looks like a wayward refugee from Mac OS 9.

But in rewriting Quicken for Mac, Intuit left some features behind. As it spells out in a what's-new article, Quicken Essentials doesn't do bill payment, only supports basic investment tracking and can't export information to Quicken's TurboTax program. It also doesn't integrate with Quicken's Web-based personal-finance software, the once-separate competitor that Quicken bought last year and which I've been using for my daily financial management since last summer.

Can Quicken Essentials redeem this company's Mac business? Quicken product manager (and Mint founder) Aaron Patzer has been saying the right things about Mac development -- while other folks in Quicken's PR department have told me that they've switched to Macs. So I do think this company has had a change of mind about its priorities. But we'll have to see whether this has happened too late for some Quicken users.

You tell me: If you've put in your time in old releases of Quicken for Mac, had you stuck with the program through yesterday and will you now upgrade to Essentials? If you've moved on to another program or site, what would it take for you to switch back? Let me know in the comments.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  February 25, 2010; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  Mac , Productivity  
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I use "Numbers" to track my finances, such as they are. That, and the paper register in my checkbook.

But my finances are simple. One job, no other income, no odd expenses.

Posted by: wiredog | February 25, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I tried Quicken for Mac 3 years ago, and couldn't stand it. I've been on my own for a while, but that was going nowhere fast. I reread your article on web-based banking and tried mint, but my bank is NOT one of the affiliated banks, so my next choice was Fortura Fresh Finance for Mac. I liked the free trial, and this month bought the full version because I hit 100 transactions, so had to pay. So far so good, but I still have a ton of questions about it, and importing has not been seamless. I'm going to keep at it, though, and hope it fits the bill. I have not found a lot of online support documents or FAQs though, for Fortura Fresh Finance. Anyone out there find a helpful site?

Quicken, you are just a little bit too late for me. Thanks for the post, Rob.

Posted by: rjrjj | February 25, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I've used various versions of Quicken since 1993. It's always been useful and it keeps track of my investments, cash flown and checks.

Two years ago I switched to using a Mac - but the 2007 Quicken for Mac was so weak, I kept using Quicken for Windows by using Fusion (emulation software). It's the only reason I use Fusion.

After looking at Quicken Essentials for Mac, and looking through Intuit's site - I'm going to keep using Quicken for Windows. Quicken Essentials is just that - Essentials. They have taken out a number of features that I find valuable - full investment tracking, cash flow forecast (ie, am I going to run out of money this month) and bizarrely, debt reduction. Who doesn't need a debt reduction planner these days?

Don't new versions of software (especially one in development for 3 years) usually ADD features than taking them out?

Intuit's answer is: "If you'd like that functionality, we recommend using Quicken Mac 2007." [from Intuit's post on what is the difference between Quicken for Mac 2007 and Quicken Essentials 2010.

Posted by: Alexander6 | February 25, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm still using Quicken 2004. What does that tell you? I think I may do like Alexander6 and buy the PC version and run it with Fusion.

Posted by: CafeBeouf | February 25, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I switched to iBank ( about 18 months ago. Was a continual user of Quicken for Mac from its first release.

iBank is what Quicken for Mac should be. For me, export of old Quicken data to ibank was relatively simple. (some transactions were off, but then they were off when I re-imported the same transfer file to the same version of Quicken -- so I feel it is a Quicken error, not iBank). Also, iBank handles the import of my bank transactions very reliability and is much easier to set-up and use. (Plus, most major banks and a whole lot more are supported, since they use the bank industry's open-source export formats, OFX, so users avoid the Intuit strategy of forcing upgrades by periodically changing their format needed by the banks to export into Quicken). And it works with TurboTax (have used it for 2 tax years now). Finally, by using Cocoa, it has the mac look and feel.

It is truly amazing they came out with this shameful effort. And considering the its Chairman (and former CEO), Bill Campbell, is also the Chairman (and former Exec VP of Mktg/sales) of Apple, it is unbelievable. But then again, it was under Campbell's watch (while on the Apple board) that Intuit first announced they were dropping Quicken/Mac, until Jobs intervened. Just unbelievable, a complete management breakdown at the highest levels.

Posted by: Outdo13 | February 25, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Y'all got me all excited. I went to Quicken's webpage, saw this right off:
"Save time and money. Quicken automatically categorizes transactions so you can see where your money’s going and pay down debt."

I'd have to override an automatic categorization? I don't think so ...

Posted by: Sasha5113 | February 25, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I've used Quicken on my Macs since 1991 and am still a customer using the hopelessly outdated Quicken 2007 which only works on the current INTEL chip-based Macs via the Rosetta emulator. As Intuit pretty much blew off the Mac community over the past four years I've watched small developers come up with various Quicken alternatives. None came close until a recent unannounced and pretty much unadvertised dark horse appeared called SEE Finance. This is a 64 bit Intel based, fully capable alternative which is available for download (just Google it) and FREE use although registration removes a 'nag' screen when it opens. Costs less than half of what the new Quicken goes for. I'm still undecided which I'll finally settle on though leaning toward SEE as Intuit's management culture has pretty much turned me off.

Posted by: mosthind | February 25, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Quicken won't get another dime from me. They've let Quicken for Mac lag the Windows version for years, and they're over two years late on their own promises of a new Mac version.

And then, what do we get? Not only pathetic compared to the Windows version, but a $70(!!) downgrade from the features of older versions on the Mac!

No bill pay? No export to Turbotax? NO SALE.

I won't buy this. I won't buy the Windows version and run it in Parallels. If they "sunset" the Mac Quicken I'm presently using....."sunset" being Intuit-speak that means "deliberately break software that still functions perfectly well to force the user to buy an upgrade"....I'll get a new version from bittorrent.

I've never seen any company that makes Mac software treat users with more contempt, and I include Microsoft....Intuit is even worse.

Posted by: skeptic9 | February 25, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

It's not an upgrade, it's a downgrade. Most programs' new releases aren't upgrades, they're at best up*dates*, but this one isn't even that. And I generally don't buy new releases unless there's a strong reason to. In this case, there's every reason *not* to.

They want me to give up some major functions; they want me to learn a new user interface to do the remaining functions, and they expect me to pay for this?

I have been using Quicken for Mac for about 15 years, and I'm currently a satisfied user of the 2006 version. I will keep using it until it stops working, and then I will decide what to do next. If Intuit makes it stop working, there's no way I will buy anything else from them.

Posted by: aamich | February 25, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I had Quicken for Mac and it ran fine under 10.2 (it was a Classic application). Then, some point release broke it. I could only run it if I booted under OS 9. Then it crashed and nearly killed my Mac. [Was able to boot from CD and change the start-up disk to OS X.]

After that, I shifted to a custom spreadsheet I built in Excel. GIven Quicken's tentative Mac support (and Microsoft's dumping of Money), I'll stay away from proprietary software for my finances.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 25, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I have stuck with Quicken 2003 running on an iMac that I kept praying won't die and take most of my financial records with it. I only stuck with Quicken though, because I couldn't find an alternative that I liked. Like others here, I have always seen Intuit for the _____s that they are-- and when they announced a couple years back that they weren't going to continue making Quicken for the Mac, I wrote their president a letter that told them where they could stick their product. When I heard they were finally coming out with a version of Quicken to run on the latest Macs, I didn't have high expectations though, and anyone who did is a fool. For years, whenever they updated Quicken for the Mac, it was always to add stupid things, like color pie charts, for which they made you pay a ridiculous price. The features in the Mac version have always lagged behind the PC version. A leopard never changes its spots, so why should Intuit? This new version though and the discussion here has inspired me to go out and look for a replacement, before my old buddy dies, and it won't be Quicken. I meant what I said in that letter-- Intuit-- I won't pay to be insulted.

Posted by: gareilly | February 25, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Mac users have been telling Intuit for years that we want the same functionality in Quicken as the Windows version has. Why did they come out with this insult to Mac users' intelligence? Do they think all Mac users care about is a the user interface, never mind what the program doesn't do that it should? Maybe Intuit is getting a cut from Parallels or VMWare-- Quicken for Windows is the reason many Mac users have to run Windows.

Posted by: ejf1600 | February 25, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

I am a recent convert to the Mac platform (14 months ago), but after I learned what a train wreck Quicken for Mac is, I bought a copy of VMWare Fusion and brought over my existing copy of Microsoft Money, which I have used for years. Based on this review and all the things Quicken still doesn't do -- including export to TurboTax, which I also have used for years -- I will keep Money 2007 until it's obsolete. At that point, I would consider iBank before Quicken.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | February 25, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I've been using Quicken for over 20 years and Macs for the past four. Currently using Quicken for Mac, I didn't see anything in the new version to impel an upgrade and I don't see them giving me an upgrade break either. On a positive note, your story has given me the desire to look for alternatives to Quicken.

Posted by: Calabrese99 | February 26, 2010 4:49 AM | Report abuse

Like many others I am a long time Quicken for Mac user and have always taken my time to upgrade. I was excited to here about a new Quicken, but weeks ago, after reading what the new version doesn't do, I'll stick with 2007. A little bitty discount offer from Turbo Tax didn't tempt me either. They've taken away too many features that I like and use often.

Posted by: mitch661 | February 26, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

I am currently a Quicken for Windows user but I have Apple computers where I would like to run Quicken. In my case that won't happen until the file formats are identical so they can be moved from computer to computer with no loss in functionality.

Right now Quicken is one of the programs impeding my eventual movement to Apple. I could do it by using either Parallels or Fusion but I am not entusiastic about that approach.

Posted by: bs_kramer | February 26, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I was considering Quicken Essentials for Mac until Walt Mossberg disemboweled it in his review for the Wall Street Journal/All Things D. Being avuncular, he did say a couple of positive things, noting that more banks have been added and data can be transferred in. But, Mossberg said that does not make up for QEM's many shortcomings.

Posted by: query0 | February 28, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Previously used Quicken 2007 for Mac for basic checkbook and credit card management. Data entry on this new version takes some getting used to and in several ways is much more cumbersome. Need to toggle between 'transaction' and 'account'. The check number for a recently written check must be entered under transaction and not into the checking account. In fact the checking account won't show the check number. Nor will it label a transfer between accounts (savings to checking, etc) as a Transfer. Maybe it just takes more familiarity but right now it seems a step sideways. I wouldn't call it an improvement yet.

Posted by: jak201 | February 28, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

We switched to Checkbook Pro a couple of years ago after Intuit failed to update Quicken. CBP is perfectly adequate for our needs, easy to use and has ben kept up-to-date. You snooze-You lose, Intuit!

Posted by: kamx3sj | March 1, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

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