The hammer falls on Quicken Online; Mint.com emerges solo

The hammer falls on Quicken Online; Mint.com emerges solo

Summary: Intuit, makers of Quicken, QuickBooks and TurboTax, will shut down its free Quicken Online service in six to nine months and put all its chips in with newly-bought Mint.com.

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Intuit, makers of Quicken, QuickBooks and TurboTax, will shut down its free Quicken Online personal finance site in six to nine months and put all its chips in with newly-bought Mint.com.

The company closed on its $170 million acquisition of Mint yesterday. That made Mint founder and CEO Aaron Patzer the new vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Personal Finance Group, heading up Mint.com, Quicken Online and Quicken desktop products.

His first decision? Quicken Online must die.

“Over the next 6 to 9 months,” he said to TechCrunch, “we will end-of-life Quicken Online and their customer’s data will be migrated over to Mint.”

That's a startling reversal for a company that bashed Mint before acquiring it. It's also a shock that a new Web 2.0 upstart so definitively trumped an established brand with far more customers.

But like the acquisition, the move is smart. Quicken and Mint couldn't coexist for too long because they serve the same purpose. Quicken has about 1.5 million users, but only 100,000 are active each month. In comparison, Mint's got 1.7 million users, and 700,000 are active each month.

[SmartPlanet: Why Intuit’s purchase of Mint.com is so smart]

So Quicken's throwing in the towel on its brand extension and going with the more engaging site.

The question remains how the company will manage two brands that are distinct from each other. Mint has a very glossy, light feel; Quicken's very red-and-gray, with style to match.

But it makes sense -- Mint took off thanks to adoption by young professionals who weren't scared of putting financial data into the cloud. Quicken Online only bulked up after seeing Mint fly past it.

So what should users expect? Like Quicken Online, Intuit can cross-promote Mint from its Quicken desktop products and TurboTax software. But some customers still want their finances on their desktops, so Mint may explore how to store data locally for that group.

But leveraging the personal finance software with Intuit's tax software is where the move really shines: TurboTax may eventually suggest tax deductions to you based on what you've entered in Mint (401k, stocks, etc.).

Expect to see more moves on the mobile front, too. Mint's popular iPhone app will continue development, and perhaps we'll see desktop apps and mobile apps on other platforms. With Intuit's backing, there's also much more hope for international scaling, including Canada, which has been left out of Mint, much to Canadians' disappointment.

Topics: Government, Banking, Government US, Hardware

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • Mint.com in Canada

    There isn't very much in the way of finance packages in Canada.

    For small businesses, there are basically two offerings: Simply Accounting, and Quickbooks.

    There are no online versions of either, at least not by the vendors themselves. Intuit doesn't even offer trial downloads of Quickbooks, nor do they offer the free starter version for individual finances.

    For home users, you have Quicken, and not much else. Microsoft Money was available in numerous versions, but only in the US. The Canadian-specific version was equivalent to the US's Standard version. The last edition was made in 2006. It was an easy-to-use program. I wish they had the Small Business version in Canada. Heck, Office Small Business Accounting was an awesome program too, but it never made it out of the US and UK.

    Simply Accounting is a nightmare, and Quickbooks is only slightly better. They really need to do some major UI work on these programs because both look and feel (and are as counter-productive) as legacy Windows 95 applications.
    Joe_Raby
  • Dark Days for Former MS Money Users

    This really couldn't have come at a less-opportune time. As a long time MS Money fan, I was severely disappointed when they threw in the towel back in June. I've reluctantly began looking to migrate over to Quicken with the coming year, and began by taking Quicken Online for a spin. I was confused as to whether Quicken Online would somehow play nicely with Quicken software when I migrated over, but I guess that question is moot now. I'm not familiar with Mint (yet), but I've stayed away from online solutions exclusively, preferring the more robust desktop software.

    As a former MS Money user, I was ready to reluctantly make a change, so long as it was to a solid platform with clear choices. What a CRAPPY time for Quicken to go and mix up their product line and leave me with even more questions than I had before. If I go to Quicken, will it work with Mint? Is Mint robust enough for my needs? Are either as robust as MS Money was? What's the learning curve on any of the other solutions?

    I guess I'll just have to try and use Money as long as possible and wait for the dust to settle.
    drokkon
  • RE: The hammer falls on Quicken Online; Mint.com emerges solo

    I am pretty much done with Quicken, used since 1998, it all started when they sun setting my 2005 version and I could no longer download online the one credit card I used it for so I moved to 2007, what a buggy pc of work, screen flicker, ms mouse that will only scroll one way, lost downloaded data unless you close and restart the program, no more billminder on start up - it's there it just doesn't work and if you get it to work it doesn't show anything. I spent hours trying everything suggested. I switched back and forth with 2005 in the beginning feeling they would come up with fixes - the flicker did die down some. 6 mos of data into the program I stayed with it am very sorry I did.

    Luckily during this 2 yr. period I simplified my finances and have become more dependent on the old paper ways and it may get to the point where I just need a check book register program - or just do it the old fashion way. Rumor has it from 2009 on it's really not much better and now they have ads in your face going on. Clearly me liking Quicken ended with that 2005 version.
    Northlite