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.”