Asking consumers to pay for the basic version of a software is a tough sell.Making the proposition tougher is the much maligned feature of Quicken where online features expire after a few years, essentially forcing consumers to buy the next version every two years anyway.The question is can Quicken be turned into software that is again a must-buy.It's doable, but requires the software to be reinvented as much as the PC itself - the device on which Quicken flourished - has. Convincing a generation why it should actually pay for software.
Intuit , which turned into a multi-billion corporation on the success of Quicken, is giving up the fight trying to sell Quicken to consumers.Many online tools are built for people just trying to simplistically track their money. Eric Dunn, senior vice president of Intuit and former CFO of Intuit, who has recently taken the helm of Quicken seems to understand the issues.Mint.com, for instance, is primarily geared for people just trying to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck. Bank and brokerage Web sites have greatly improved - and are often "good enough" for many users. In a recorded video to customers, Dunn says he's looking to invest in the product to make it even better. But evolution isn't something Quicken can keep kicking down the road. Bulky desktop computers - most of which probably ran some previous version of Quicken - have been replaced with sleek laptops that look more like tablets with keyboards than traditional laptops.Most online services require you to share your usernames and passwords of your banks and brokerages - which is generally something that should cause you pause. But even major banks' Web sites have been compromised, so it's safe to think that security is a real concern.Some banks are starting to push back - seeing the greater security risks.