Mountain View, Calif. (April 13, 2004) -- 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 will no longer receive phone and online support after April 20, while 2000 users have until May 18, according to Intuit. The company says 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, especially when you want to allocate resources towards developing and supporting future versions.”


Intuit estimates there are approximately 16 million Quicken users overall.


Repetto stressed that Quicken users are “responding positively” to a recent offer, where customers can upgrade to Quicken 2004 Deluxe (the most recent version of Quicken) for $34.95 if they purchase the product directly from Intuit. The deal includes a $20 instant rebate, free shipping and extended technical support. He also noted that 98, 99 and 2000 users can continue to use the products, they just can’t download anything for them or pay bills online.


Analysts agreed that the move isn't uncommon and, with few exceptions, said it shouldn't cause users or the company any problems.


“Every time this kind of thing happens, there are a certain amount of reasonable complaints, but if someone is going to put out new software every year, you can’t expect them to support that far back,” said David Farina, an equity analyst with Chicago-based William Blair & Co. “Intuit gets a lot of grief and people get a bit over the top in their expectations. You pay $20 to $25 for a product, you can’t expect lifetime support.”


An Associated Press report indicted that some of the affected members have alerted their lawyers and filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in San Jose. Intuit had no comment about the pending litigation.


-- Seth Fineberg

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