more intuit looniness

i know i shouldn’t dwell on this subject, which probably bores everyone but me absolutely silly, but the corporate strategy of intuit, the makers of quicken, just continues to flabbergast me.

the latest chapter of lunacy involves their high-end product for businesses, quickbooks.

through all of my well documented thrashing about with quicken, i always had in the back of my mind that, if it all went to total hell, i could always buy the more professional version, quickbooks, as surely it would be more solid and work better.

now, honestly, this never got past the stage of “idea in the back of my head”, and i certainly never actually investigated, say, the feature set of quickbooks, to see if its purchase would indeed be an improvement. but my common sense, uninformed concept was that quickbooks would be quicken, only better because it was more expensive. i know that quickbooks is for a different purpose, and for a different target audience, but i still think my uninformed concept makes some logical sense.

so today, in my incessant occasional web browsing, i came across this press release for the new version of quickbooks for mac 2006. and i thought, hmmm, given my recent troubles, maybe i should check this out and give that upgrade a second thought.

now, it’s a $200 purchase because, intuit being intuit, you don’t really buy an upgrade for the program you previously purchased. you buy the whole damn program all over again, and maybe get a rebate if they offer it and if you file correctly and if the wind is blowing just so from a westerly direction and they decide to mail it.

so, for $200, what do you get in the ultra-professional version of intuit’s financial management software?

and i quote, from the press release. i’ll even leave the capital letters for emphasis.

“Quickly Import Bank and Credit Card Transactions: Small business owners can save time and avoid data-entry errors by importing bank and credit card statements they have downloaded from participating financial institutions. Downloaded transactions can easily be added into QuickBooks and matched against the register to avoid duplication. QuickBooks can import statements from the more than 1,000 financial institutions supported by WebConnect.”

do i have this right? in other words, in this all-new version, evidently you finally get the same capability to electronically download transactions that has existed in quicken since at least the mid-1990s?

and that’s a new feature that they have the guts to actually trumpet? geez. i thought that i had legitimate complaints. can you imagine how quickbooks owners must have felt all these years?

“dammit,” i can hear them saying, “why, if i pay three times as much for quickbooks as i would for quicken, don’t i have at least the same basic capabilities as the cheaper quicken software?”

i can’t even imagine how mad i would have been paying for quickbooks all these years, and not have that basic ability. you would logically think that quickbooks would have the same capabilities as quicken, but much much more as well, since you are paying much much more. isn’t that logical? or am i missing something here? i can’t believe that people have been paying all that money for all these years, and they were typing all of their transactions in by hand!. amazing.

even more funny is another section later on in the press release. again i quote, again i leave capitals:

“These features are in response to requests from QuickBooks for Mac customers, two thirds of whom asked for a way to import bank and credit card transactions into QuickBooks.

‘Great strides have been made by adding the download banking and online payroll to QuickBooks,’ said Mike Zimmer, administrator of a non-profit organization in Perris, Calif. ‘Now there is another great reason to use Mac.'”

now my first comment is in regards to the other 1/3 of people surveyed. did they not want to import their transactions? did they prefer to pay more for a program that made them toil like scribes in the middle ages? or were they so in the dark about the process that they didn’t realize that there was an alternative, and didn’t know to ask for that feature?

and mike, dude. i hope you at least got a free copy of quickbooks out of this. because your quote is certainly the understatement of the intuit century. although i appreciate your carefully parsed statement, and, when i read between the lines, my opinion is that your quote is more about how great the mac is than how great quickbooks is, which is as it should be, and that your quote implies that quickbooks was not a great reason to use a mac before, which may very well have been true.

how about if i provide my own quote? intuit, you are free to use this in your marketing as you see fit, as long as it is included in its entirety. i’ll even use capital letters to save you time when you copy and paste it.

“The addition of download banking and online payroll to QuickBooks is an overdue improvement,” said Jamie Howard, haranguer of all things inane that he encounters, and the homosexual webmaster of queerspace.com. “Now everyone who spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on QuickBooks over the years can finally enter the Internet age which began so many years ago.”

am i too hard on intuit? this is all certainly just my opinion. but if you google intuit, you’ll find lots of discontented users.

i can’t believe i’m going to say this, but i actually hope that microsoft releases a mac version of money.

me begging for microsoft software? you know it must be bad.