Mountain View, Calif. — Technical support is about to run out for users of versions 98, 99 and 2000 of Intuit Inc.’s Quicken personal finance software, as the company plans to discontinue phone and online support for those products and focus its resources on its current and future software.

Anyone still using Quicken 98 and 99 no longer received phone and online support after April 20, while 2000 users have until May 18, according to Intuit. The company says that users shouldn’t be surprised by the move and does not expect many difficulties.

“We’ve been notifying customers since January through e-mail, direct contact, and in-product pop-up messaging, so they should be well aware by now,” said Chris Repetto, public manager for Intuit’s Quicken. “Honestly, this [discontinued support] accounts for less than 1 percent of Quicken’s total user base, and there are so few using the older versions that supporting them doesn’t make sense.”

Intuit estimates that there are approximately 16 million Quicken users overall.

Repetto stressed that Quicken users are “responding positively” to an offer that allows them to upgrade to Quicken 2004 Deluxe for $34.95 if they purchase the product directly from Intuit. The deal includes a $20 rebate, free shipping and extended tech support.

Analysts agreed that the move isn’t uncommon and, with few exceptions, said that it shouldn’t cause users or the company any problems. “You pay $20 to $25 for a product, you can’t expect lifetime support,” said David Farina, an equity analyst with Chicago-based William Blair & Co.

An Associated Press report indicted that some of the affected members have alerted their lawyers and filed a class action lawsuit against the company.

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