Microsoft Corp. has pulled the plug on its Microsoft Money application, saying that the increasing availability of online personal financial management tools at Web sites operated by banks and other financial companies had "changed" consumer demand for the personal computer software package.
The Redmond, Wash., software giant said in a posting on its Web site Wednesday that it would discontinue online sales of the Microsoft Money Plus family of software products on June 30. Microsoft said it had discontinued updates of Money in 2008.
The company said it would continue offering financial services on its MSN Money Web site. The site, which supplies market and business news, also lets users gain access to basic account aggregation services, such as downloading statements and viewing account data.
"We will continue to evolve and enhance the online MSN offering in the coming months," the company said. A Microsoft spokesman did not return a call Thursday requesting comment.
Mark Schwanhausser, a research analyst at Javelin Strategy and Research in Pleasanton, Calif., said he found it interesting that Microsoft cited account management services offered by banks and other financial providers as a key factor in its decision, rather than mentioning Quicken, the leading personal finance software package and Money's longtime top competitor.
Quicken, a unit of Intuit Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., outsells Money by two-to-one, Schwanhausser wrote in a blog post.
Several online companies, including Wesabe Inc., Mint Software Inc. and Geezeo Inc., offer online financial management tools to consumers.
"But as good as Quicken and the Web start-ups are at helping consumers monitor their accounts, the real power of personal finance tools will be unleashed when banks and credit unions step up their game," Schwanhausser wrote. "They have the potential to serve up top-notch personal finance capabilities that allow consumers to not only monitor all their finances in one place but … also manage them."
Scott Gulbransen, an Intuit spokesman, said his company's engineers are working with Microsoft to help Money users shift to Quicken. "We have been working directly with Microsoft, working on a way for users to import their data to Quicken," Gulbransen said in an interview Thursday. "Microsoft is trying to do what they can to help their customers to move their data forward."
Intuit's own packaged-software business is still growing, though more slowly than in the past, he said. "The future is online. We have a burgeoning online business as well," he said. "We are committed to supporting both of those customer bases going forward."