Most business accounting software is designed for accountants, which isn't much help to small business owners, who are usually not only chief accountant but also chief cook and bottle washer, among other titles. Business owners who keep their own books need accounting software that doesn't require CPA certification to use. OWL Software's Simple Business Accounting (OWL SBA) is designed from the ground up for the business owner who wears a lot of hats, starting with a user-definable interface refined in more than 20 years of developing business software. Most accounting software is based on the traditional double-entry … Read more
Microsoft has decided that its Office Accounting product just doesn't add up.
The software maker said on Friday that it plans next month to stop distributing the accounting product line, ending the latest in a series of efforts to take on market leader Intuit.
Conventional wisdom is that Intuit's acquisition of the personal finance Web service Mint will mean the end of the line for the company's standalone software app, Quicken. Upstart Mint, which is being acquired by Intuit for $170 million, has a personal finance product more in line with the times, with a younger demographic, a working business model, and a passionate CEO, Aaron Patzer, who's slated to take over the Quicken product line at Intuit once the acquisition closes. It doesn't look good for the old desktop app, Quicken.
It's a shame that we think of Quicken that way, but it's Intuit's own fault that we've gotten here. The product, according to Intuit legend, started at founder Scott Cook's kitchen table in 1983 as he watched his wife struggle with paying bills. The original Quicken, little more than an DOS-based checkbook and register, over time became an ambitious personal finance suite that handled budgeting, retirement planning, loans, public equities and employee stock options. It became more capable but also more complex, harder to use, and much harder to get started with.
More importantly, as Julie Miller, director of corporate communications for the consumer group at Intuit told me, "Quicken made its way through the organization. We shuffled the Quicken business around. That had a direct effect on the quality of the product." You can see the effect on CNET's own reviews. Users hate Quicken. Few products have user reviews scores as low: none of the variations of of Quicken from recent years have user reviews garnering more than 1 and a half stars out of 5. (Our official reviews score the products higher.)
Another reason that Quicken suffered: Intuit shifted its focus away from the flagship product to new moneymakers, in particular its small-business product, QuickBooks, and its tax software and service, TurboTax. As Miller says, "There were decisions made over time that had the unintended consequence of putting the Quicken business where it was starved for focus and resources."
Finally, though, the light began to dawn at Intuit. Miller: "Our thinking was too limited. We weren't thinking beyond the desktop solution. The way we grow this, we realized, was to look for acquisitions."
This week, I'm joined by CNET security expert Elinor Mills in a discussion with Mint CEO Aaron Patzer, whose personal finance site is being acquired by Intuit. We grill Patzer on why he sold the company, the future of Quicken, and the security of online financial data.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video)
I really enjoyed recording this podcast. We had the start-up CEO of the moment in to talk about why he sold his personal finance company, Mint, to Intuit--the company he built Mint to compete with in the first place.
Also, Elinor grills Patzer on the security safeguards in his system. Patzer tells us getting access to Mint data is like initiating self-destruct on the Starship Enterprise: You need three people to give their individual passwords at the same time or no go. Play the podcast for the full content, and for our show notes, including some bonus content from a post-show discussion, keep reading. … Read more
Making sense of medical bills can be a challenge for both the patient and doctor. A new service from Intuit is trying to ease that pain.
Quicken Health Bill Pay, a free online service from Intuit, is meant to help consumers better understand and pay their medical bills online. The service presents the bills in an easy-to-read language, said Intuit, so patients can view the services they received and see the exact balance due after insurance. From there, they can pay the bill directly online.
The service debuts as tech companies are increasingly directing their attention to the field of … Read more
Software mergers and acquisitions have been on overdrive this week, with Adobe, Google, and Intuit collectively spending roughly $2.5 billion to add to their respective product lines. Against this backdrop, OStatic's Sam Dean asks, is the time ripe for open-source mergers and acquisitions? The answer is a resounding, "maybe."
Virtually all M&A is motivated by a search for strategic value. That value comes from acquiring expertise in emerging markets, like cloud computing or virtualization, or by delivering developer communities, as VMware got by buying SpringSource.
This is why Dean is right to point to … Read more
T-Mobile's parent company is considering buying Sprint Nextel, meaning we'd have only three big cell phone companies in the US. But in a weird way that could be good for competition? We're not sure ourselves, actually. Also, a rogue ad hits the New York Times and we discover Pirates only see in 2D. Eye-patch FTW!Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 1062
Rogue ad hits New York Times site http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10351460-83.html http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/14/what-to-do-if-you-saw-an-antivirus-pop-up-ad/ http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/20090913/home-delivery-the-new-york-times-serves-up-some-malware/… Read more
Financial software maker Intuit has signed an agreement to acquire personal finance service Mint.com for $170 million.
"With this transaction, Intuit will gain another fast-growing consumer brand and a highly successful Software as a Service (SaaS) offering that helps people save and make money," Intuit CEO Brad Smith said in a statement Monday. "This move will enhance Intuit's position as a leading provider of consumer SaaS offerings that connect customers across desktop, online and mobile."
TechCrunch reported the deal Sunday night, citing unnamed sources.
Mint, a start-up launched two years ago that tracks personal … Read more
Intuit announced on Monday that it has launched a community site for open-source developers to write open-source SaaS (software as a service) applications that enhance Intuit's own SaaS platform. Glyn Moody derides the move as "a rather feeble attempt to plug into the power of openness without really engaging with it," but this misses the point.
The point is to enhance the value around an already valuable platform (Intuit's software). This isn't just of benefit to Intuit, but also to the third-party developers who contribute. No one wants to write software to sit on a … Read more
MB Psychic Color Test allows users to test and develop their psychic abilities by trying to predict which color the program has selected from a group of colored rectangles. If ones assumes that psychic abilities do exist, we suppose that this program could be a useful tool, although it's hard to gauge whether the program actually works the way the publisher says it does.
The interface is simple, though cluttered with ads for the publisher, Mystic Board. Users select from beginner, intermediate, or expert levels, with the number of color choices increasing with the difficulty. The program displays a … Read more