BOSTON Intuit Inc (INTU.O) is looking to boost
Quicken personal finance software sales by offering it as a
service for $3 a month that can run on Apple Inc's (AAPL.O)
It hopes the product, which launches on January 8, will
vastly expand Quicken's 14 million users and boost the market
penetration of a brand that already generates about 1.7 million
new copies of software a year, Intuit senior vice president
Rick Jensen told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.
Intuit has designed the product to appeal to younger
consumers, people who may have used online banking for most of
their adult lives, but do not use software to track those
"Our first mission is to make sure we are solving the needs
of people who are not currently using a personal finance
solution," he said.
Sales of the Quicken brand have basically been flat since
peaking in 2001, but it has recently taken some business away
from its only key rival, Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), according to
market researcher NPD.
Quicken's U.S. market share rose to 80 percent in the first
11 months of this year from 72 percent in 2006. Microsoft
Money's share of sales declined to 19 percent from 25 percent
in the prior year, according to NPD.
NPD declined to provide specific dollar sales figures.
While Intuit does not release sales figures for Quicken,
NPD says that, so far this year, the product has been selling
at an average of $53.38. At that price, 1.7 million copies
would ring up to about $91 million.
Quicken online will be accessible through regular Web
browsers and most mobile devices with browsers, protecting the
data with the same technologies that banks use to secure online
But it will be tough to read on small screens.
The version that Intuit has developed for iPhone has been
designed for use on-the-go, offers fewer features than the
version for regular Web browsers and is optimized for iPhone
Intuit, whose products range from small-business accounting
software with QuickBooks to tax preparation programs with
TurboTax, also plans to tweak the service so it works on the
Blackberry from Research in Motion Ltd RIM.TO and other
But company officials declined to say when that will
They said they decided to tweak the product for the iPhone
ahead of other devices because Apple enthusiasts tend to be
early adopters of new technologies. They may be more likely to
embrace a software as a service product, said Jim Del Favero,
product manager for the Quicken group.
Intuit, the world's largest maker of financial software for
consumers and small businesses, has already launched online
versions of TurboTax, which have been used by millions of tax
filers, and QuickBooks, which has some 120,000 users.
Online Quicken is targeting millions of younger, Web-savvy
consumers who generally eschew software that must be installed.
Teenagers and young adults are willing to pay for software,
but they are not interested in spending time to buy it and
install it on a PC, or want to be restricted to using it on one
device, Jensen said.
"It's about the amount of work and time they are willing to
invest," he said. "Even going out and shopping for a piece of
software in the store. They are not interested in that."
The program's functionality will be similar to what is
available on the entry level version in Intuit's Quicken line.
That would give users the ability to do things such as balance
their checkbooks, review spending patterns and track cash flow.
Quicken's desktop software already allows users to download
banking information, credit card charges and electronic bills.
The new online product will be able to do that, but will be
easier to set up, he said.
It will automatically download new information as those
companies make it available. In the case of credit card
charges, transaction details will be pushed out to Quicken
online users as they are accrued, rather than requiring
customers to wait until the end of the month to see all charges
for the period, he added.
(Reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Brian Moss/Andre