Last Wednesday, Microsoft announced the end of Microsoft Money’s annual release cycle.
I think Microsoft actually killed it. Here’s why:
- The announcement was routed through a fanboy, not an employee. Bob Peel is a “MVP,” which really means he is not an employee and donates a lot of time to Microsoft. (As much as I like Microsoft products, I think it’s absurd to donate time to a for profit corporation.)
- “Customer feedback” apparently convinced Microsoft that yearly upgrades weren’t helpful. I have no idea why they suddenly realized this. The microsoft.public.money news group has lambasted the annual upgrades’ minimal net value for years.
- The current version, released in mid 2007, is Money Plus. Normally it would be named Money 2008. By removing the date, the current product’s name won’t expire.
- Microsoft discontinued retail sales. Why would you abdicate retail sales channels to Quicken? Because your product is dead. All future sales will be over download channels.
I suspect Money was unprofitable. The frequency of and poor added value of upgrades suggests that Microsoft’s true goal was milking the revenue out of a dead product. Money Plus is so long in the tooth–it’s slow, its database is terribly inefficient, and it doesn’t work well with other products–that it needs a huge rewrite.
What’s in store for Microsoft Money? Probably nothing, at least not anything I can install on my computer. If it has any future, Money will probably morph into a web site. But knowing how poorly Microsoft does web products, don’t hold your breath.
My recommendation? The desktop version is dead, and Microsoft sucks at online services, so explore alternatives.