End of the road for Microsoft Money

According to CNet, Microsoft will soon be bringing to an end its Money line of personal finance management software.

From Microsoft's Money FAQ, the products affected include Microsoft Money Essentials, Microsoft Money Plus Deluxe, Microsoft Money Plus Premium and Microsoft Money Plus Home & Business. For Microsoft Money Essentials, online services (online stock/share quotations and bill-paying) will stop one year after activation or 31 January 2011, whichever comes first. For everything else, users will continue to be able to access online services "for two years after initial activation or until 1/31/2011, whichever comes first."

On Microsoft's own Money site, the company explains that, "[w]ith 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. After suspending annual updates of Money Plus in 2008, Microsoft is announcing today that we will no longer offer Microsoft Money Plus for purchase after June 30, 2009."

The Redmond company warns that "[a]ll purchased Money Plus products must be activated prior to Jan. 31, 2011." Once activated, the program will work as usual. However, after the cut-off date for online services, users will be left with reduced functionality and the inability to upgrade their version of Money or move it to a new machine, virtual or otherwise.

Competition with Intuit and web services has been blamed for this move on Microsoft's part. The Money franchise has been in contraction for some time--the last UK version of Money came out in 2004 (branded as "2005"). Although most consumers with a need for a Money replacement will likely look elsewhere, some may be enticed to try the company's more recent offering for small businesses--Microsoft Office Accounting Professional. Others will no doubt be looking to Intuit, Mint.com, or GnuCash.

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