Quicken Essentials 2010 for Mac. Why bother?

I’m upset with Intuit and I’m not sure what to do about it.

First and foremost, let me get this out of the way. I love Quicken on the Macintosh. I’ve used Quicken since at least 1995 (those are the oldest entries in my register in Quicken today, but I think I’ve used it longer than that) and I have over 6000 entries. That’s 15 years of use and loyalty to a piece of software. You don’t often find that. In fact, I’m pretty sure the only other piece of software I’ve been using as long on my Macintosh is BBEdit (I was a beta-tester for BBEdit back in the day). So, clearly, I find value in the software, enjoy the software, and have been a loyal user of the software for many years. But something changed 4 years ago.

In November 2006, Intuit released an update to their Quicken software for the Mac, Quicken 2007 for Mac. This was a yearly update to the prior product Quicken – for Mac 2006, which had been released the prior year in August 2005. Things were looking up, we seemed to slowly be gaining ground back with Inuit and getting more regular updates. It didn’t bother Macintosh users too much that the Macintosh version and the Windows version were divergent. The development effort at Inuit was clearly on the Windows side and the feature lists of the two products showed it. The Windows version was just more feature complete and capabilities had slowly eroded away from the Macintosh version of the software. I can even remember back to Quicken Deluxe 2000 for Mac. We don’t garner the “Deluxe” branding anymore, it’s now just the “Essentials” (more later). Erosion of features was also true for Quicken 2007 for Mac, but we got by.

Then silence. Intuit discussed Quicken 2008 for Mac, in order to support Leopard. Leopard was going to be such a dramatic change from the previous Panther release of Mac OSX, that they should just wait for it to hit the streets before releasing an update. Then in January 2008, Intuit announced Quicken Financial Life for Mac. So after just a bit more than a year from the release of Quicken 2007, Intuit was keeping their commitment to the Macintosh platform and performing an update, which was “slated for a fall 2008 release”. Then the fall came and went, but we kept hearing about Quicken Financial Life for Mac. Finally, we got to see it when MacWorld did a Preview: Quicken Financial Life for Mac in February 2009 and noted that it “remains a work in progress at this early stage”. A “work in progress”? A full year after it was announced?

That’s when I got involved. I was upset, because Intuit kept sending me upgrade offers for QuickBooks, so I Tweeted this in March 2009:

@QuickBooks @intuit @QuickenPRChels. Stop sending me upgrade offers. I won’t upgrade until you support the Mac properly again. #Quicken1:33 PM Mar 3rd, 2009 from TweetDeck

That got @QuickenPRChels attention. She contacted me about it and offered me a seat at the Beta table (which was an open beta at the time, anyone could join it). I downloaded the software, ran the installation, and cringed. I then wrote them a very nice email:

-Rob

That brings us to today readers. For on January 10th, 2010, I got my email!

It’s Official: New Quicken Mac! Upgrade & Save $10

Woo hoo! New Quicken for Mac! Hold on though, here’s the email:

Quicken Essentials Advertisement

Um, that says, “Quicken Essentials for Mac”. What happened to “Financial Life”? This doesn’t bode well for Macintosh users, as not only have we moved down the food chain from “Deluxe”, but now we’re only getting the “Essentials”?

It gets worse. If you go to the Pre-Order page and read up on Using a Prior Version of Quicken Mac you’ll find the following page:

Quicken Prior Version Upgrade

Let’s take a look at each of those bullet points.

Can I track my investments? No. Use our four year-old product Quicken 2007 if you want to do this.

Can I export my data to TurboTax? No. Use our four year-old product Quicken 2007 if you want to do this.

Can I pay my bills within Quicken? No. Use our four year-old product Quicken 2007 if you want to do this.

Can I transfer my data from an older version of Quicken Mac? Yes. Whew! Thank goodness!

Can I convert my Quicken Windows data to Quicken Essentials for Mac? Yes. (But why would you?)

WTF?

So I guess “Essentials” no longer includes things like using other Intuit products with it, paying bills, or tracking investments? In fact, “Essentials” now seems to be equivalent to just setting up a big spreadsheet, as the bulk of the functionality has been eliminated.

Now the crux of my issue. Should I upgrade? Should you upgrade?

Intuit has put us in a very precarious position. I’m a firm believer that you should “vote with your wallet”. My vote currently would be to completely skip this abomination of a software product. However, taking that stance has two major drawbacks:

  1. By not purchasing the product, Intuit flops with this product, it justifies their belief that the Apple Macintosh isn’t a viable platform for them, and they completely abandon the product. Bad.
  2. The current Quicken 2007 for Mac is a PowerPC application. Yes, it’s NOT Intel native. Really bad.

Yep, if you haven’t been paying attention, Quicken 2007 is probably the only application you’re running that is a PowerPC application. In fact, if you’ve loaded up Snow Leopard, you’ll find out you now have to load Rosetta manually, in order to run Quicken, as PowerPC support is no longer a part of the base OSX. What a complete pain! Here is part of my Activity Monitor:

Quicken PowerPC

So, actually paying for this upgrade (more on that in a moment) has two distinct advantages:

  1. You finally get to run Quicken as an Intel native application, and can probably uninstall Rosetta.
  2. You send a signal to Intuit that we Macintosh users are a tough lot, and we demand software, even if it sucks!

But Point #2 above is sending the wrong message in my opinion. Yes, we want Quicken on our Macs, but we don’t want THIS Quicken. We want a feature-compatible version of Quicken to the one running on Windows. Why is that so hard?

So, should I upgrade? Do I upgrade and help Intuit recoup their investment in rewriting the software in the hopes that they will continue to support the Mac platform, even though I hate this product offering? Or do I skip this version and “vote with my wallet”, in the hopes they will flop and then give us what we want, but risk having them flop and abandon us entirely?

Oh yea, the cost of the upgrade. Well, if you Pre-Order it you get to save $10! That means it only COSTS THE SAME AS THE WINDOWS FEATURE-RICH VERSION!

Yes, you read that right. The retail price of the Macintosh version of Quicken Essentials 2010 is $10 MORE than Quicken 2010 for Windows.

I think I just made up my mind. iBank anyone?

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