Well, the wait is over. Intuit announced last week that it has unloaded its Quicken product to a private equity firm.
Millions of decades-long users (including me) are wondering what’s next. For its part, Intuit’s announcement last August that it was for sale actually came as a relief to many of us because Intuit has mastered the art of torturing users. (Update, April 16, 2016: Need more proof that Intuit is rapacious? See this Wall Street Journal article on Intuit’s sale of accountants’ client data.) Quicken has been a basket case for at least a decade and one of my small business clients who relies on QuickBooks to manage millions of dollars of other people’s money has been through what can only be described as enhanced waterboarding at the hands of Intuit support. (Brad Smith’s announcement talks about investing in QuickBooks — what he means is that the Windows product will be neglected in order to force users to the cloud version, a product so stinky it’s either the stinkiest cheese or foulest fruit you’ve ever smelled.)
The spokesperson for the boat people set adrift by Intuit — ahem — the “leader” of the new Quicken business tells us that he feels our pain and that the private equity folks are going to give him the resources to breathe new life into this ur-legacy product.
Yeah, right. And that girl I told in high school I’d love forever if only she’d let me…
Try this: use a product for nearly 20 years to manage your financial life. Make it the cornerstone of your financial plan. Over a period of years, watch it become the thing that makes you want to throw your desktop out the window every time you use it. Then listen as its creator kisses it off and sells it to the kind of people who think the AIG bailout was a good thing.
Try to make yourself believe — just for a moment — that the new owners’ promises are worth more than the electrons that streamed their drivel into your browser. Know that prices are going up, features will be dropped, support will get worse (yes, even worse than the barely-English-speaking people Intuit used to not answer any and all questions) and that there are no alternatives.
It ain’t a good feeling.
Now I know, with a fidelity I could never imagine before, what being a digital orphan means.