Microsoft kills off Money

Microsoft kills off Money

In the face of increasing competition from banks, brokerage firms and dedicated Web sites, Microsoft is scrapping its Money personal finance management software.

The firm says it will stop selling the software, which was first introduced in 1991, on 30 June. The move comes after Microsoft stopped selling it in stores last year, offering it only as a download.

Microsoft Money Plus, which was available in four versions costing between $19.99 and $69.99, enabled users to keep track of their finances, pay bills and manage shares and taxes.

Some functions of the software will continue to work indefinitely but online services - such as stock quotes, e-banking and bill-pay - will no longer be available after January 2011.

In a statement on its Web site, Microsoft says: "With banks, brokerage firms and Web sites now providing a range of options for managing personal finances, the consumer need for Microsoft Money Plus has changed."

Microsoft's decision to quit the market comes after years struggling to compete with market leader Intuit. Recently it has also faced competition from online outfits such as Mint and Wesabe.

Finextra verdict: Desktop market leader Intuit will be the initial beneficiary in the short-term. However, Microsoft's bail-out signals a shift in consumer sentiment, and a rejection of the bloated all-singing, all-dancing desktop model. In its place will come a selection of stripped-down Web 2.0 apps and widgets, more suited to the always-on mobile lifestyle of tomorrow. A similar shift will ultimately emerge in banking, as the hulking monoliths of the financial services industry are left behind and consumers select what they need from a mash up of different specialist providers existing at the periphery.

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