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Intuit Disables Features in Quicken To Force Upgrades

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the dog-bites-man dept.

Upgrades 617

Numerous people submitted a blurb from BoingBoing about Intuit disabling features in older versions of Quicken. Why the BoingBoing submitter and Mr. Doctorow are so upset about this I don't know; when you buy software that's dependent on a for-profit company to keep working, what do you expect?

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An agrarian view about Intuits upgrade mechanism (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519269)

Plowing for several large companies, I'd always done my work on Windows. Recently however, a top online investment firm asked us to do some work using FreedBSD. The concept of having access to source code was very appealing to us, as we'd be able to modify the kernel to meet our exacting standards which we're unable to do with Microsoft's products.

Although we met several fertilization challenges along the way (specifically, FreedBSD's lack of Token Ring support and the fact that we were unable to defrag its ext2 file system), all in all the process went smoothly. Everyone was very pleased with FreedBSD, and we were considering using it for a great deal of future internal projects.

So you can imagine our suprise when we were informed by a labourer that we would be required to publish our source code for others to use. It was brought to our attention that FreedBSD is copyrighted under something called the GPL, or the GNU Preventive License. Part of this license states that any changes to the seed are to be made freely available. Unfortunately for us, this meant that the great deal of time and money we spent "touching up" FreedBSD to work for this investment firm would now be available at no cost to our competitors.

Furthermore, after reviewing this GPL our labourers advised us that any products compiled with GPL'ed tools - such as gcc - would also have to its source code released. This was simply unacceptable.

Although we had planned for no one outside of this company to ever use, let alone see the source code, we were now put in a difficult position. We could either give away our hard work, or come up with another solution. Although it was tought to do, there really was no option: We had to rewrite the code, from scratch, for Windows 2000.

I think the biggest thing keeping FreedBSD from being truly competitive with Microsoft is this GPL. Its mercurial requirements virtually guarentee that no business will ever be able to use it. After my experience with FreedBSD, I won't be recommending it to any of my associates. I may reconsider if FreedBSD switches its license to something a little more fair, such as Microsoft's "Shared Source". Until then its attempts to socialize the software market will insure it remains only a bit player.

I welcome you for your time.

Re:An agrarian view about Intuits upgrade mechanis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519276)

I haven't laughed that hard in ages, thanks :D

Re:An agrarian view about Intuits upgrade mechanis (-1, Offtopic)

SilverspurG (844751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519288)

we were unable to defrag its ext2 file system

That's the beauty of the ext2 filesystems. Except in red herring cases, the filesystem keeps itself from becoming unworkably fragmented.

FreedBSD is copyrighted under something called the GPL

Oh yeah? The FreeBSD guys might have something to say about that.

We could either give away our hard work, or ... rewrite the code, from scratch, for Windows 2000

Ummmmmmmmmm.

I think the biggest thing keeping FreedBSD from being truly competitive with Microsoft is this GPL

Key the light that says "laughter".

such as Microsoft's "Shared Source"

Key the light that says "laughter".

Why not GnuCash? (3, Interesting)

michelcultivo (524114) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519274)

Why not use GnuCAsh [gnucash.org] ? It's so difficult to integrate with online banking?

Re:Why not GnuCash? (5, Insightful)

blowdart (31458) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519287)

Because it doesn't run on the same OS as Quicken? Because it supports a standard that banks are only starting to open up to?

If software doesn't run on your OS and doesn't talk to your bank then the fact that it's open doesn't help much.

(And no, it doesn't talks to my bank)

because it doesnt work on Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519329)


and like it or not that's what buisness use

if you dont include Windows then you might as well be offering software for a Atari STFM as far as buisness is concerned

Re:Why not GnuCash? (3, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519404)

I've tried this and kmymoney. They are getting there, but they're not close enough for me.

The last time I tried (probably six months ago), the budgeting features were not good, online downloading and uploading of transactions looked to be incompatible with my bank, and reporting was not as versitile. The transaction registers themselves worked just fine, though.

It is also difficult to just experiement with the online features since it is your bank, and if it is working with quicken already do you want to mess with possibly getting the online service in some strange state? Financial software really only works well if all your transactions are in one place, so nobody would want to cut-over unless they had a fairly high degree of confidence that the FOSS alternatives are ready for prime-time.

I ended up buying quicken 2K4 for about $5-10 mail-order. If you buy a one-year-old version it isn't nearly as much of a ripoff.

And what alternative do you have? (5, Insightful)

blowdart (31458) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519275)

when you buy software that's dependent on a for-profit company to keep working, what do you expect?

Considering there are no (that I know of) open source or not for profit alternatives that allow you to pay your bills online like Quicken does what alternative do users have?

Re:And what alternative do you have? (4, Funny)

bwalling (195998) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519363)

Considering there are no (that I know of) open source or not for profit alternatives that allow you to pay your bills online like Quicken does what alternative do users have?

Well, there's Microsoft Money!

Bank Web sites & paying online (1)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519393)

"what alternative do users have?"

I would guess that many bank Web sites include some sort of bill-paying option, though I would also guess that there would be an additional service fee.

(unless, of course, you have loads of cash -- fees are often waived for people who don't need fees to be waived)

Re:Bank Web sites & paying online (1)

blowdart (31458) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519403)

I would guess that many bank Web sites include some sort of bill-paying option

My bank does this (and it's free), but of course that's only part of the facilities that MS Money or Quicken provide.

Re:Bank Web sites & paying online (2, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519416)

I do and it is free. However, it is much nicer to just enter a transaction and have it uploaded to the bank, than to enter a transaction in your software, and then enter it again online.

Part of the problem is that as for-profit enterprises Quicken and MS Money can spend a lot more on bank marketing. They can get their foot in the door with their proprietary standards much more quickly. Neither is going to want to make it easy for a FOSS package to play-ball...

Re:And what alternative do you have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519401)

Umh, don't you have that stuff automated? We do, and we're a "third world country". We also have free universal education up to university level, health care for all, nuclear technology we sell worldwide and even space tech. We also pay less taxes than the US and don't have a messy tax system. Move to a real country, that's the solution.

Re:And what alternative do you have? (4, Insightful)

rah1420 (234198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519437)

The problem is that the tail's wagging the dog. Why on Earth are people using their check register to pay their bills?

I log onto my web site [knbt.com] with Firefox and use my bank's online bill pay feature to pay my bills. I can download these transactions into whatever money manager supports their download format. I don't bother, preferring to scrape the screen and put the display into a text editor, as I can then import it into my spreadsheet with a few clicks.

Cost: About $6 a month. Beholden to: Only my bank, and I trust them to be the custodian of my money anyway, so I'd better trust them.

Intuit has been sending me begging and pleading letters to upgrade my Quicken 4.0 for years, and all I do is laugh and throw them in the recycling bin.

Do I want Intuit telling my bank what to do? Hell no! That's why I do this rather than initiate bill pays from the payee's web site; you gotta push, don't pull the transaction.

Hint: If you use the bank's software to communicate with the bank, you'll never have a problem.

Open source solution? (3, Insightful)

Scud (1607) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519278)

I don't use Quicken, so I wouldn't know, but is there any reason why the transactions can't be done via FOSS?

Re:Open source solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519458)

Conclusion: You use FOSS, thus you're poor.

Re:Open source solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519460)

How is this insightful?

"Hey guys, I [don't know anything about the article], but why can [Linux|OSS|GNU|whatever else Slashdot are turned on by] do the same?"

It's not funny and it brings nothing to the discussion. I call this cheap-ass karma whoring...

Whatever happened.. (4, Insightful)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519279)

.. to just producing a decent product and letting the market decide if it wants it or not? Why does every corporation have to be a blood thirsty, morally defunct, money grabing ass?

This is why I choose free software because it's in the spirit of cooperation rather than subversion.

Simon.

Re:Whatever happened.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519303)

I used to work for Intuit UK and they were bastards. Just before they pulled their call centre out of the UK and into Canada, they made all the support staff make sales calls.

People were waiting 1-2 hours to get support and there were a hundred people in the queue. Meanwhile the support staff had to make cold calls, which they hated.

Then they suddenley closed the call centre and left all those people without jobs.

I've never bought Intuit products since.

Re:Whatever happened.. (4, Insightful)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519343)

"In [a free-market] economy there is one and only one social responsibility of business to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition, without deception and fraud." -- Milton Friedman

The problem is that, of course, few of them do go without "deception and fraud."

Re:Whatever happened.. (1)

elmo13 (252565) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519391)

I can understand why they did it. Many customers are used to the continious upgrading all the time. If they can make money, they probably will.

Of course they'll upset a few users. Maybe one or two will stop using their software. Most of the people who weren't going to upgrade wont upgrade now anyway. The people who may have upgraded will now definately upgrade.

If I ran a company for profit and had the opertunity of making lots more money and only losing a few customers I'd do it.

Of course the idea of FOSS is better. Quicken is not FOSS though. Until a free alternative comes out, and has a large marketting budget, people will still use Quicken.

Re:Whatever happened.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519408)

to just producing a decent product and letting the market decide if it wants it or not? Why does every corporation have to be a blood thirsty, morally defunct, money grabing ass?

And exactly how many people do you support with your company? What's that? You just earn enough money for yourself? Then STFU.

And I think the market is deciding: they like the product.

Re:Whatever happened.. (0, Flamebait)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519427)

Dude, pretty much anything that has todo with money has todo with profit. Even the tsunami relief aid [SCAM!!!] concerts are about getting image out and being able to rob more mindshare. [*]

I have no problem paying for tax software. I would have a problem though if they locked me into a proprietary format so I couldn't escape later.

[*] All those who don't think tsunami relief aid is a scam please say "I cared about the people of the affected regions BEFORE December 26th, 2004".

Tom

Equivalent of Orphaned FOSS Projects (2, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519454)

Doctorow, et al, are exercising their free market power by switching to something else. That's how competition works. Intuit did something that they don't like and they are going elsewhere. What subsequently happens to Intuit is irrelevant to them, even if they agree with you that it is "a blood thirsty, morally defunct, money grabing ass".

Unless Doctorow signed a contract with Intuit obligating it to maintain that service forever, without change, there's little he can do about it other than go elsewhere.

The equivalent ahppens in FOSS every day as developers abandon projects and leave behind orphaned software. Cooperation doesn't get you much when no one wants to coppoerate.

BoingBoing (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519280)

You mean they're bouncing off the walls about this? Quickly?

Redundant (0, Troll)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519304)

is your mother.

Troll (0, Troll)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519326)

is your father.

Also, (-1, Troll)

spac3manspiff (839454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519281)

I bet these guy's are also angry over Microsoft not supporting Windows 3.1 anymore.

Re:Also, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519289)

Or Red Hat not supporting Redhat 9

Re:Also, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519295)

I bet these guy's are also angry over Microsoft not supporting Windows 3.1 anymore.

Support isn't the problem REMOTE DEACTIVATION is!

Re:Also, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519297)

FYI, Quicken 2002 is only (2005-2002=3) years old...

Re:Also, (1)

Misanthropy (31291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519327)

The issue isn't "not supporting" old software. It is purposefully breaking it so people have to buy the new version.
If you still wanted to use Windows 3.1 it would have all the functionality that it has always had.

first poast!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519282)

get bent michael.

FP!?

Troll Article (5, Insightful)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519291)

This article made a good point, but michael didn't have to add his flamebait last line. When you buy something, you usually expect it to keep working and not be disabled over time. Yes, maybe corporations are evil, but for the most part, when you buy something, it keeps working. I have a computer running Windows 95 that runs just as well as when we first bought it. That's coming from Microsoft, the Big Evil. We read the summaries to start discussions ourselves, not to have incendiary statements put in there just for the fun of it.

On a side note, is anyone here a laywer who knows about retail law? There could very well be a law that they're breaking here, opening themselves up to a class-action lawsuit.

Re:Troll Article (0)

Roofus (15591) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519346)

I agree, it's just another asinine comment by Michael. If I made any many stupid comments as he does, my karma would perpetually be below 0.

Re:Troll Article (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519440)

Oh I don't know, I see plenty of asinine comments here modded up to +5; it just depends on whether you're towing the party line or not...

Re:Troll Article (1)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519406)

I would expect the articles submitted to the editors were more baited - probably preachy about F/OSS or going off on a tangent about WHOMG SI THIZ LEGAL PATRIOT ACT DMCEEA!"!21123oneeleven.

What Intuit are doing is outrageous (0, Troll)

Wonderkid (541329) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519299)

If I buy something, it should work for life or as long as I choose to own it. I also object to paid upgrades. For example, I paid £99 (UK) for iLife 4 from Apple. They have now launched iLife 5 which fixes flaws in iPhoto (amongst other things). I should NOT have to pay for it and will be pirating iPhoto 5 it as a protest against this kind of behaviour by vendors. Of course, there is no moral problem with NEW users paying more for a later version of an application than earlier versions. If you want to protest what Intuit are doing, refuse to pay them and look for alternatives. Protest with your wallet!

Re:What Intuit are doing is outrageous (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519337)

Rubbish. You paid for iLife '04, and your copy of iLive '04 does exactly what it was marketed as doing. iLife '05 has more features, and you pay for these (well, you don't, but non-criminals do). If you didn't like the features iLife '04 originally had, you shouldn't have bought it - you should have either bought or written something better. This is entirely different from what Intuit are doing - disabling features that the customer has already paid for.

By the way, the RRP of iLife is £49, so I don't know how you paid £99 for it. Education price is even lower, and the 5-license family pack is only £65.

Re:What Intuit are doing is outrageous (2, Insightful)

BinLadenMyHero (688544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519435)

Ok for the features, but he said the new version FIXED PROBLEMS of the old one. He has the right to have the product working as expected, thus to have the problems fixed. If they don't release a 4.1 version that solve that problems, he has the moral right to get a pirate the new version.

Re:What Intuit are doing is outrageous (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519444)

But what about the new features, should he use them as well for nothing? What if they have problems as well, does he pirate iLife 06 as well. The Company makes a few mistakes and its customers are entitled to free software from then on in?

Re:What Intuit are doing is outrageous (1)

nguyenhm (577058) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519339)

Don't act all high and mighty and try to justify pirating iLife 5. You're just being cheap. Buying a product does not guarantee you free updates forever, especially since iPhoto 4 still works fine (and it did for me, a lack of a feature that is in the new version is not a "flaw") even when iPhoto 5 is now out. It's like expecting Microsoft to give you a free Windows XP upgrade from 2000.

Re:What Intuit are doing is outrageous (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519358)

So they fix the flaws you don't think you should pay for but will you object to using the new features you havn't paid for? Way to go on giving Apple an excuse to adding DRM to their software asshat.

Leasing Software (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519361)

Some really high end software is on a lease basis, and if you dont pay your re-occurring fee it quits entirely..

Had to support one once that gave you a *2* day grace period.. Every so often it would expire on a Friday.. and would die on Sunday... Forcing me to dial in to jump thru the hoops on my day off.

And no, you could not renew early..

And if you dont renew after a week or so, you have to buy NEW licenses.. Oh, and it was required to use this in order to do business. No alternatives.

The rant above aside, this is the ultimate goal of all software companies: repetitive, perpetual, income

Re:What Intuit are doing is outrageous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519380)

You are a cheating lying bastard, those are your flaws Wonderfuck. Real protesters don't use the product they are protesting against, they use and buy something else instead. To think you are a mac user as well.

Re:What Intuit are doing is outrageous (1)

avalys (221114) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519387)

Bullshit. Your argument is completely bogus.

When you bought iLife 4, you bought it knowing its feature set, having presumably read reviews, tried it on another people's machines, etc. If you bought it sight unseen, without awareness of any flaws or bugs that it has, that's your fault for not taking advantage of the resources available to you as a consumer. Apple has absolutely no responsibility to even provide you with patches to iLife for free, much less completely new versions.

Obviously you think free upgrades for life is a good thing. I do too. I'd like if I never had to pay for software again. But presuming that what you personally want should dictate the policy of other people is supremely egotistical, self-absorbed, and generally moronic.

If some company decides to offer free upgrades for life for all its existing customers, that's great. Buy their products and support their decision. But, as most companies have to make a profit in rder to stay in business and fund their development, that's not always a viable strategy. Claiming that you're justified in stealing their software because you wish they had such a policy is absolutely absurd, and makes me wonder if the term "spoiled little brat" is still appropriate for describing you.

I pirate software. I admit it. But I do so knowing that I'm being dishonest, breaking the law, and being a lousy person. But I will never pirate Apple's software. In addition to being an all-around-great company, they've in the past been pretty good as far as consumer rights go. But, iWork, Apple's new office suite, now has serial numbers. You can only install it on one machine. None of their previous software has had any sort of copy protection mechanism built-in, as far as I can remember anyway. Why did they feel it necessary to include one in iWork, inconveniencing hundreds of thousands of honest, paying customers out there? Because of dishonest, weasely little shits like you.

Then what about CodeWeavers? (2, Insightful)

bvankuik (203077) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519388)

CodeWeavers [codeweavers.com] Has their own version of Wine [winehq.com] but almost all changes are rolled back in the main tree. I bought version 2, and don't need the features of the new version 4.1, but if I understand you, it's perfectly fine for me to save on the measly $40 and pirate this product?

What you suggest is outrageous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519407)

I should NOT have to pay for it and will be pirating iPhoto 5 it as a protest against this kind of behaviour by vendors.

Okay, so Toyota builds the Corolla 2004 and now they come out with the Corolla 2005 which fixes problems with 2004 exhaust system. (Owners of the car know what I am talking about). Now using your logic I am free to go to the local Toyota dealership and steal the new Corolla 2005 model. There is only one problem with you logic..you forgot to factor in the jail time involved at which point after serving your sentence you will need to steal the next version. 8P

while(1)
{
steal();
sleep(307584000);
}

Re:What Intuit are doing is outrageous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519418)

I should NOT have to pay for it and will be pirating iPhoto 5 it as a protest against this kind of behaviour by vendors.

Didn't you fix someone's PC 6 years ago? Why should they have to PAY for you to FIX IT AGAIN? Why aren't you offering support 4 life?

What's that? You have a limit to how much you are going to do for a certain price? Odd that you don't give the evillll corporation the same benefit that you yourself take.

Re:What Intuit are doing is outrageous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519423)

You object to paid upgrades? It is not like Apple disabled your iPhoto 4 when version 5 came out.

Sorry, but your pitiful attempt to justify stealing is pretty funny. Does this "objection" extend to upgrades of OS X itself? How about expecting a new auto every time a new year's model comes out? Where does this "objection" logically end?

It would be wonderful to pay one time and get upgrades for life, too bad that is not how real life works (i.e., companies expect a reasonable return on their not-inconsiderable investment to improve/reinvent their products).

Try as you may, arguments justifying stealing software/music/movies/etc. ignore the fact that you are expecting others to spend their money/time to make something you take for free.

-1, flamebait (1)

jxyama (821091) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519432)

please name the flaw in iPhoto 4. i know iPhoto 5 has added features over iPhoto 4, but not any kind of bug fixes.

Re:What Intuit are doing is outrageous (1)

Nexum (516661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519456)

iLife4 was NEVER £99GBP with or without VAT.

Amazon.co.uk sold this item at £36.00 (now £32.99). That is without student/teacher discount.

You are a pirating thieving liar - I know how hard the Apple engineers work on the iLife suite, and your attitude has sickened me.

I thought Intuit was bad? (1)

ONU CS Geek (323473) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519300)

This really isn't meant to be anything, but, after the whole TurboTax fiasco last year, do you expect anything else from these clowns?

Now, for the M$ folks out there, there are only two 'mainstream' options -- M$ Money, and Quicken. Neither of which are that appealing. There's GnuCash, however, if you're not running a free operating system, you're probably not going to get very far.

Personally, I use GnuCash, and I'm quite happy with it. I haven't had any real issues with it, nor have I had any real complaints. (Printing would be one, but, I manage).

It's never suprising to see a company use whatever tactics it can do in order to keep its customers buying it's newest stuff. I keep on the old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Why they decided to break their own application is a decision that's left to the reader.

Re:I thought Intuit was bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519374)

You know, using $ instead of S in MS really makes you sound so mature and powerful.

Re:I thought Intuit was bad? (1)

dougsyo (84601) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519396)

If I remember right, a couple of years ago Intuit removed the ability of QuickBooks to talk to any SMTP server but theirs - and you had to open an account with them for a monthly fee in order to send e-mailed invoices or bills through their server.

Then the Turbo-Tax/macrovision mess... now this...

I tried Quicken once, it was more hassle than it was worth. I do my bills over the internet via CheckFree, and I use HR Block Taxcut for my income tax.

Doug

official line? (1, Insightful)

Texodore (56174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519305)

Perhaps the editors could wait until there is an official piece of information from Intuit before posting editorial comments? Seriously, maybe there's a reason why. Then again, maybe not.

<sarcasm>In either case, I believe we should be reactionary and attack Intuit, just like we do every year about this time. They did add DRM stuff to TurboTax one year. Bastards.</sarcasm >

(I do remember them pulling the DRM or whatever stuff from TurboTax. Maybe they'll do the right thing here. But since I don't have enough info, I don't know the right thing. So I won't jump on this bandwagon. Yet.

Re:official line? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519415)

I certainly didn't notice the link (or, more accurately, I noticed the word "link" and thought it was the permalink to the blog comment). I guess Cory Doctorow was too excited about using groovy beatnik jargon like "sez" to put the link in the place where any normal reader would expect it.

Thanks for pointing it out, although you could have done so in a less visually irritating fashion.

RTFA (1)

mESSDan (302670) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519376)

Perhaps the editors could wait until there is an official piece of information from Intuit before posting editorial comments?
Perhaps you should RTFA. http://www.intuit.com/support/quicken/sunset/ This is just Quicken / Intuit figuring out how they can alienate even more customers. I am not of the opinion that a software company should be allowed to do stuff like this. Let them "sunset" it while keeping the feature set.

Re:official line? (2, Informative)

decade_null (464270) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519400)

I you'd RTFA, you would have found a link to the official line of Intuit [intuit.com] .

Re:official line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519425)

before posting editorial comments?

Come on, this is michael "I believe that giant sea creatures came up during the tsumani, and I have no last name" . If it weren't for his occasional jab he'll have no life at all.

What does the contract say? (2, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519307)

Quoth the editor: "Why the BoingBoing submitter and Mr. Doctorow are so upset about this I don't know; when you buy software that's dependent on a for-profit company to keep working, what do you expect?"

You should expect the price of the software to reflect what is actually being offered. The contract between Intuit and the users regarding the operation of the software should (part of the "Software License Agreement", which I cannot find on-line) should say for how long Quicken will support the operation of the software. That factor was included in the price of the software.

Before this can be resolved we need to look at the contract. Then there are two possibilities:

  1. The users failed to read the contract before accepting it -- their loss
  2. The company is reneging on an express contract
  3. The contact did not spell this out. Then there would be an argument as to what is the implied expectation -- what do you think?

Can someone post the relevant terms from the agreement?

Re:What does the contract say? (1)

l2718 (514756) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519322)

I wrote: there are two possibilities:

I guess this exmplifies the old ditty about the mathematician who couldn't count ...

hmm (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519309)

hy the BoingBoing submitter and Mr. Doctorow are so upset about this I don't know; when you buy software that's dependent on a for-profit company to keep working, what do you expect?

Actually, I don't expect this, it's definitely not a standard industry practice. Oh, sorry, forgot that rationality takes a back seat when it's time to insult proprietary software.

Re:hmm (0)

Isbiten (597220) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519328)

Yeah, it's idiotic of michael to attach his opinions and kneejerk comments to his news posts. We should get to rate news posts.

-1 Flamebait

Re:hmm (1)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519348)

Exactly. What Inuit is doing is not exactly commonplace. Microsoft dropped support for Win98 or whatever many years later, but what Inuit is doing is basically disabling certain features of an application that's 3 years old. Perhaps a lame analogy, but that would be like Microsoft disabling the ability to use Internet for Win98 users in 2001.
This is a bad decision from Inuit, but has nothing to do with proprietary software vendors as a whole.

Strategies for a constant cashflow (3, Interesting)

acostin (229653) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519314)

I am also managing a software company (we produce tools for web developers), and there is indeed a need to have a long term-strategy that could lead to a constant cash-flow. We have several tactics in place to help us in this respect:
  • Release new major versions of our products each 20 months (as we generate code, the previous version is probably "obsolete" by the time we release the new version - so we don't expect problems in this respect). We also add features each time.
  • Horizontal expansion - enter markets that are related to our core markett - in our case, online training, commercial support, book writing.

Intuit is probable facing the same problems (at a bigger scale - they're public company and they have responsibilities for their stockholders). It seems that they have offered the online service for free, planning to get the cashflow from software sales only. Now, as the sales have decreased, they have to find a way to make people upgrade to their latest version, and I personally can't blame them.

You also have to take into account that they are probably still battling Microsoft... I am from Romania, so I'm not very familiar with the limited MS Money success. Is Money still an alternative?

Alexandru

Re:Strategies for a constant cashflow (1)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519335)

Microsoft Money still works with previous versions... we currently have customers connecting with 1999.

Microsoft Money does this, too (4, Informative)

cygnusx (193092) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519315)

From http://www.microsoft.com/uk/homepc/money/ProductDe tails.aspx?pid=003 [microsoft.com] :

Internet-based services available for two (2) years after activation of Microsoft Money or 1 September 2007, whichever is earlier. See the Microsoft Money Internet-based services policy http://money.msn.com/Money/2005/GBR/IBSP.asp [msn.com] for details.

If you don't upgrade, you'll be able to use the software as before, but not the Internet-based services (AFAIK).

Re:Microsoft Money does this, too (1)

cygnusx (193092) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519338)

Replying to my own post: it seems it isn't quite as bad as it sounds: MS' definition [msn.com] of "Internet-based services" are hooks to MSN Money services, not internet banking -- which you do direct with your bank as long as they support it.
Internet-Based Services are features of this version of Microsoft Money that give you the ability to perform certain Internet-based financial tasks through the Microsoft Money client software. Your ability to perform certain Internet-based Services (such as Internet-based banking) may require that you obtain these services separately from your financial institution, with or without a fee.

Re:Microsoft Money does this, too (1)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519372)

That's correct... Microsoft Money will still connect to your bank and download transactions long after MSN Money services stop working.

I work at a bank (5, Informative)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519316)

I work at a financial institution and am in charge of support for PFMs (Personal Finance Managers) including Microsoft Money and Quicken. The reason that Quicken is sunsetting support for online banking in 2001 and 2002 is that your online transactions actually come through Intuit's server, which accesses your bank server on your behalf. You can still use the older versions of Quicken, you just can't download transactions.

Microsoft Money on the other hand still works since it connects directly to the bank's OFX server. Although my bank only supports 2001 and newer, we have users that are actually connecting with Money 1999 with no problems.

Re:I work at a bank (1)

edward.virtually@pob (6854) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519450)

let me be the first to predict that (1) there will be bugs in the ofx implementation and/or protocol, (2) these bugs will be found by crackers, (3) they will be exploited, and (4) these facts will remain largely unknown to the public for some time afterward. this is not so much the fault of ofx as it is the basic idea of allowing automated initiation of bank transactions from the typical user's computer -- for all i know, the same thing has already happened to the closed precursors to ofx. if you're going to have a protocol to do something stupid, you might as well use one that has as many eyes as possible looking for problems, but the stupidity remains. sure it's convenient, but it's also an obvious recipe for disaster waiting to happen. and you thought viruses that hijacked your computer to send spam were bad. sorry for the mostly off-topic comment, but i had somehow avoided realizing just how far this kind of stupidity has progressed until the "connects directly" phrase hit.

Almost bought Quicken (2, Insightful)

srleffler (721400) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519324)

Well, I'm really glad I read about this on Amazon last week. I was about to buy Quicken, since it's almost free if you're buying Turbo Tax. I knew Intuit was Evil, but this was just too evil for me: they lost the sale and I'm sticking with Microsoft Money. It's a sad day when Microsoft is the lesser of two evils...

Re:Almost bought Quicken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519367)

The lesser of two evils is still evil. ;)

You don't have to upgrade (5, Informative)

sd790 (643354) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519330)

I received a similar letter a few weeks back and immediately called my bank to find out if this was really going to affect my ability to use their online banking services. They told me that this will NOT cause any problems and I DON'T have to upgrade to continue using their online banking system. The only thing that I'll lose is my ability to Intuit's help desk, which I'll never do anyways.

Call your bank and check. You probably don't have to bother with it.

That is Incorrect (4, Informative)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519364)

From Quicken's Sunset policy FAQ:

Q: What will happen if I don't upgrade?

A: As of April 19, 2005, in accordance with the Quicken sunset policy, Online Services1 and Live Technical Support2 will no longer be available for Quicken 2001 and 2002 users. This means that you will no longer be able to download financial data into older Quicken software. You will still be able to manually enter your data.

Attempts to use Online Services after April 19, 2005 will result in a variety of program error messages related to the feature or service you try to access.

Quicken's Sunset Policy [intuit.com]

FAQ [intuit.com]

Whats the Problem? (1)

reassor (817660) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519345)

I don't see the Problem.Any Software Vendor could allow or deny some features.Maybe keeping this Feature working,costs more (in Upgrades or Patches),then developing of New Software.I could understand them for doing this.Also,how many User are working with this "old" Version? Will Upgrades bring you any Advantage?In these Case maybe not,but in other Cases surely!Remember Windows 95 and no USB working?Now with W2K or XP,you just plug any USB-Hardrive and Bingo!200Gigs of Storage in 5 Minutes.

What a shock! (0, Flamebait)

John Harrison (223649) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519347)

Michael using his power as an editor to troll! And I thought he had grown out of that.

Free use of their server? (1)

AC-x (735297) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519351)

Do you have to pay a subscription fee for Quicken's online payment system? If not then I guess as long as the upgrade price is reasonable it seems fair to charge a small amount as a kind of subscription to their service, as you can't expect companies to provide a service for free indefinitely (and as a bonus you keep your version of Quicken up-to-date)

A Question (1)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519354)

A question from someone who doesnt use quicken: Can you please elaborate about the service that quicken 2002 used to provide? Is the service provided by Intuit's servers so that it costs Intuit? The article says "these transactions pass through my bank, not Intuit" so does it mean it doesn't have anything to do with Intuit and its servers? Then how can intuit "disable" this? Thank you.

Intuit is not very smart (2, Informative)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519365)

As I recall, a couple years ago Intuit came under fire for their production activation scheme and their draconian copy protection in TurboTax, which secretly installed code in the boot sector of the hard drive to prevent the CD from being copied, but also apparently caused some CD writers drives to stop working properly and was near impossible to get rid of. It turned into a major PR nightmare for them, as word spread quickly across the internet of what TurboTax was doing to people's PCs. A good number of their customers left for TaxCut. Several months later, Intuit was forced to admit publically what a dumb decision it was.

Well, it appears that Intuit did not learn their lesson, as this is likely to turn into another PR nightmare for them. How do companies become so dumb?

What does it do? (1)

wertarbyte (811674) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519366)

What does this online billing service do? And what does Intuit has to do with it? I'm using GnuCash, and I can do online bank transfers quite fine. I don't see anyone else except me and my bank is involved in transfering money? I already noticed that things like those account-to-account transfers are not common in the US, where paper checks are still widely used - they are almost dead here in germany, and we got HBCI for syncing GnuCash with our bank account. No need for a "financial software corp" to engage in my bank correspondence.

This happened with me and Toys 'R Us (4, Funny)

nysus (162232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519369)

I bought this electronic drum set for my kid at Toys 'R Us. A year, later, this guy in a yellow and orange vest comes to my door with a hammer. I let him in and he proceeds to smash the drums into tiny fragments, making my kid cry. He says, "Sorry, the model of your drum set is out of date. You have to buy the new model." What else could I do? I had to pay another $50 or my kid would go nuts.

Re:This happened with me and Toys 'R Us (2, Insightful)

AC-x (735297) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519426)

That's not a particularly good analogy now is it?

They are not remotely disabling your copy of Quicken, they had been providing a service for free as the online bill payment system had to go through their server. They've realised they can't keep doing that forever, but for some reason rather then introducing a small subscription fee they're getting people to upgrade instead.

Re:This happened with me and Toys 'R Us (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519452)

A year, later, this guy in a yellow and orange vest comes to my door with a hammer. I let him in and he proceeds to smash the drums into tiny fragments, making my kid cry. He says, "Sorry, the model of your drum set is out of date.

More apt would be if the guy told you your kid couldn't play in the Toys R Us band anymore.

And another thing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519377)

After foolishly upgrading to Quicken 2005 from a perfectly good 2003 I find that I can't download transactions from my bank which I could have done with the earlier version. The reason? Intuit has gone with proprietary version of the OSX format called QSX. So by upgrading you have access to fewer features. Financial institutions have to pay a fee to use the QFX form.

Downgrade to new version (1)

dughat (158489) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519378)

Last year, the feature shutoff was that the older version would no longer be able to download quotes. Since this is the feature I use most, and my version was five years old, I "upgraded". Since then, I have become an expert at restoring from backup. For five years, I _never_ restored from backup, now I do it at least once a month, because Quicken regularly corrupts my data. Tech support? The guy in India was willing to charge me $20 or some such fee to walk me through the "restore from backup" procedure, but since I'd already done that several times, it wasn't necessary. He was unwilling to admit that maybe a financial product should never corrupt data, even if the file was big.

Re:Downgrade to new version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519434)

Tech support? The guy in India was willing to charge me $20 or some such fee to walk me through the "restore from backup" procedure, but since I'd already done that several times, it wasn't necessary. He was unwilling to admit that maybe a financial product should never corrupt data, even if the file was big.

You're complaining about software that you've paid $60 ($40 purchase 5 years ago, $20 upgrade now) for over 5 years, or $12 a year?

So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519379)

when I actually BUY something from a store I can expect the owner to creep into my house at night and steal part of it back?
damn capitalism sucks

Meanwhile in the UK... (1)

Ian.Waring (591380) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519405)

Intuit have formally written to all it's UK Quicken users saying it's no longer going to supply Quicken or their tax software here - so they've sent a final CD for free and put all it's eggs into Quickbooks for the SME market. So, it looks like a good incentive to move to GNUcash now.

rude comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11519417)

when you buy software that's dependent on a for-profit company to keep working, what do you expect?

That is a pretty rude comment. I am sure open source and free software ocasionally force users to update/upgrade their software because of technical reasons....

You know... maybe i am now convinced.. ALL software should be free YEA YEA YEfree software... screw it.. i don't need to trade my skills as a software developer.. i will find something else that will earn me the same amount of money.. and still have time to dable in software?!?

you guys are somtimes morons.. Michael.. if you work for a company that sells software/services for software you are one dumb person... heck that goes for the rest of you here... even the few that are tech support staff and network admins.. you may not have your little job if someone else was not able to make a few monies off their skills as a software developer.

yes it sucks these users are now locked out.. hmmm slashdot is locking me out of some features just because they want to make a profit.. heck way back when i didn't have to see so many ads... i guess that is what you get for useing open/free source.. ads.. they have to make money some how.. ha ha..

Poor buisness (1)

Ostie (851551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519419)

This is called poor buisness, an alternative should be offered at least such as a free upgrade. In the worst case, users should be advertised how many days are left before their product expire completly and it should be written on the box that this product is only good for 3 years. It also reflects a poorly written core engine that can't adapt it-self over the time.

Could Happen In Open Source, Too (2, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519428)

Might be bait and switch, might not be.

I don't use Quicken, but if the communication involved is, literally, only between the user and a financial institution, then I'm not sure how that capability could be disabled by Intuit.

If the Quicken relays data to a financial institution via Intuit (why?), then Intuit is within its rights to alter or eliminate that capability. (Doctorow should check the terms of his Terms of Use agreement. I'd be surprised that Intuit agreed to maintain that facility, without change, in perpetuity.)

The same thing could happen in an open source version of Quicken if data was sent to banks via a single central facility, if a code upgrade or rewrite was frustrated by the need to maintain the old code at that real point.

Try MoneyDance (5, Informative)

czei (121516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519438)

I got fed up with Intuit's bug-ridden software and abysmal tech. support in 2003 and switched to MoneyDance [moneydance.com] . The GUI isn't as slick, but I ended up spending way less time on finances because the program's well-written and well supported. Instead of talking to tech. support people on the other side of the world who are just reading from a support database you can get email back from one of the developer's in a couple of hours and your questions are answered quickly, accurately, and for free.

I looked at some open source programs at the time, but the big draw for me to MoneyDance initially was it will automatically download transactions from my bank, and there's a great matching algorithm to stick the transactions in the right budget category.

Expectations (1)

joshsnow (551754) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519439)

when you buy software that's dependent on a for-profit company to keep working, what do you expect?

I expect it to keep working forever - i.e. until some combination of hardware/OS change renders this impossible. I don't expect it to be supported for ever.

Neither do I expect any "Free Software" equivalents to necessarily provide all that I need, when I need it with decent paid for support.

I don't expect much.

What is the big deal (0, Troll)

AoXoMoXoA (20861) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519442)

I bought quicken a few years ago...i think it was around $75 or 80 dollars...i just upgraded to Quicken 2005 because I want the most current software...especically when it is handling my finances. I dont really see a problem. My guess is that you are wanting to install this on a pirated copy of XP or something. The software is not that expensive...what is the big deal. This is something that you should expect from a company like Intuit. Do you scream at Ford when your car breaks down? Did you know that that purposly use parts that have a 2 to 3 year life expectancy? Everyone does this...get over it...use it or GnuCash or write your own.

Big Deal - I don't expect software for life (1)

Cheech Wizard (698728) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519447)

I'm a Mac person (before you rant, I also have a PC so I'm not a Mac screamer) and I have software going back to 1986 (and a few computers in my closet). Actually, a lot of it still works if I want to run Mac OS 9.x). But, No - I don't expect software to work forever nor do I expect the software company to provide me with upgrades for life.

I use Quicken. I have for years. I don't remember writing more than 10 paper checks in over 6 or 7 years and I like it.

I don't want something for just making transactions. I want something that integrates the transactions into a database and Quicken's format suits me. The export for the tax report at the end of each year is also important.

I upgrade software like Quicken about every 3 years. Not a big deal. I'm not a Quicken fan - but I've tried several other programs (except Microsoft's Money) and Quicken does what I need.

My opinion is this is a lot of crying by people who expect more than is reasonable or realistic (e.g.: the comments here that if one buys software it should be good for, or updated for, the persons 'life').

Buy? (1)

smcdow (114828) | more than 9 years ago | (#11519453)

Forced upgrade, yes. But Intiut sent me a free copy of Quicken 2005 via US mail to do the upgrade.

Not that I've done the upgrade yet, but....

I just assumed that everyone who had already purchased Quicken was getting a free copy of Quicken 2005. Is this not the case?
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