If You Love the Version You Have, Is Requiring Software Upgrade Fair? (WSJ)

How would you feel if a perfectly good piece of software, one you used almost every day, stopped working after just three years — and the software company demanded you pay almost $30 if you wanted to get it back?

That’s what happened to me with Quicken, the market leader in personal-finance software. The experience was a reminder that once you have trusted a company and made their product a vital part of your life, you’re pretty much at their mercy from that point out.

Two or three times a week, I use Quicken to go online and download my recent credit- and debit-card purchases. Quicken keeps a record of them, so I also use it to look up things now and then and to export tax-related data at 1040 time. Not exactly a Quicken power user, but I’ve been doing this for more than a decade.

A few weeks ago, though, instead of the usual download, I got from Quicken an Urgent Notice: After April, downloading would no longer work. I would need to upgrade (for $29.99) from my Quicken 2003 to Quicken 2006.

While others have chronicled this before, I was encountering for the first time what Quicken calls its “sunset” policy. “Sunset” has such a tranquil sound to it; it’s the time of day when people take long walks on the beach in those personal ads. But the better phrase would be “Compulsory Upgrade.”

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One thought on “If You Love the Version You Have, Is Requiring Software Upgrade Fair? (WSJ)

  1. What’s worse is that it doesn’t end this year…in three more years 2006 will sunset and once again you will dish out money for a new version…it’s more like a subscription than a piece of software you bought and own. Even Microsoft doesn’t do this…Intuit is definitely becoming crooked

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