Microsoft has decided not to upgrade its Microsoft Money personal finance software this year and will sell the software exclusively online now.

"At the end of the day, it all boils down to consumer activity and how consumers are choosing to use the product and how they're choosing to acquire it," said Chris Jolley, group manager for Microsoft's financial products group. He added that Microsoft has seen much more activity lately from downloads of the software as opposed to packaged software sales. The company has been closely integrating its Microsoft Money Plus software with its own MSN Money site.

Jolley also denied that the lack of an upgrade and move away from retail store sales meant that Microsoft was backing away from the personal finance software category. Microsoft has faced stiff competition from Intuit's Quicken over the years, but so far the software has gone through 17 releases.

"Annual releases at this stage of the game don't make as much sense as they used to," said Jolley. He declined to predict whether Microsoft would release an updated version of Money next year.

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