Microsoft Corp.'s decision to offer its personal finance software for free has upped the ante in the struggle for home banking dominance, bankers and other observers said last week.

The software giant said it will make copies of Money for Windows 95 available via the Internet for two months without charge. Consumers will be able to download Money from Microsoft's site on the World Wide Web, beginning Aug. 24. Money is second to Intuit Inc.'s Quicken in the personal finance market.

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