Prediction: Microsoft Money is dead

Microsoft Money Plus Deluxe
Microsoft Money Plus Deluxe

Last Wednesday, Microsoft announced the end of Microsoft Money’s annual release cycle.

I think Microsoft actually killed it. Here’s why:

  1. 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.)
  2. “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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Quicken is more primitive than Money, but Intuit promised major enhancements for the upcoming Quicken 2009. Barring that, there’s online services like wesabe.com and mint.com.

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