Serving You More By Providing Less

Long after I’ve stopped using Quicken, the emails still continue to amaze me.  Here’s the quote to start off this topic:

“Many of our customers ask why we discontinue certain services and the answer is simple—to better serve you.“

Today I got an email from Quicken stating that I had to upgrade to Quicken 2013 because they were shutting down services for Quicken 2010.  Which services? 

  • Transaction downloads
  • Online Bill-pay through Quicken (not sure if that’s different from banks’ EFT-style payments)
  • Stock quotes and portfolio management through Quicken
  • Technical Support (except online self-service)

Well, 3 of the 4 items are Quicken-provided services, so if they want to shut them down, I don’t have an issue with that.  It’s the first item that bugs me.  The transaction download portion has a server component and a client component.  The Quicken software is the client.  The banks run the server component. 

I know how banks operate: slowly.  There isn’t any way Quicken could force banks to update their software by their imposed deadline.  Many banks will have these libraries integrated with their own software, so there would need to be some rewriting involved and major amounts of testing and documentation.  Not going to happen.

What option does that leave?  Time-bombing the client so that it will become inoperable on a specific date.  Downloading transactions is what the majority of people would use.  The bill-pay, I’m not sure of.  But, in order to better serve you, we think it’s best to not let you do this any more.

I can’t remember if I still have Quicken installed somewhere or not, but I’m going to be testing this out.  First, if they did manage to get all the banks to upgrade their code and change the format of the QIF file, then it should fail to import into MS Money.  Otherwise, I’ll guess that you can manually download transaction files and import them.  This is a slight inconvenience, but it’s not rendering Quicken unusable.  However, at that point, you have the same level of functionality of MS Money Sunset, so why not use a better application?

Here’s the bottom line.  There’s nothing new in banking.  There’s no reason to upgrade banking software.  Quicken is milking this cash cow for as long as they can.  By practicing forced obsolescence, they are forcing their customer base to choose between paying forever or leaving them.  I made my choice. is certainly helping people make a choice. Hmmm.  I think I need to revisit and see what’s happened since the last time I gave them a try.

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