Microsoft Will End Money Plus

Microsoft will no longer offer Microsoft Money Plus, its personal finance software, after June 30. Microsoft cites the range of other personal finance management options available from banks, brokerage firms and Websites as the reason behind the shutdown. Microsoft has closed down other product lines, including its Encarta encyclopedia software, as it reconfigures in the face of a changing IT world.

Microsoft plans to stop offering Microsoft Money Plus, its personal finance software, to consumers. First launched 17 years ago, the program joins Microsoft Encarta in the dustbin with other products the company has discontinued in 2009.

"With banks, brokerage firms and Websites now providing a range of options for managing personal finances, the consumer need for Microsoft Money Plus has changed," Microsoft said in a statement. "We will no longer offer Microsoft Money Plus for purchase after June 30, 2009."

"Demand for a comprehensive personal finance tool set has declined," Microsoft added elsewhere on its Money Plus site.

The products affected are Microsoft Money Essentials, Microsoft Money Plus Deluxe, Microsoft Money Plus Premium and Microsoft Money Plus Home & Business. In their place, Microsoft is choosing to concentrate resources on its MSN Money Website, which offers personal finance information along with market news.

Microsoft plans to support online services for active customers through "at least" January 2011, meaning that those who need them can continue to receive yearly tax updates even after sales of Money Plus have ended. After that point, however, users will need to manually update tax rates via the rate schedules on the IRS Website.

Once the online services expire, Money Plus will no longer support online quotes or direct online banking, but the program can theoretically exist indefinitely on one's PC. Newly purchased editions of Money will need to be installed before the January 2011 cutoff date.

Money Plus is not the first program that Microsoft has terminated in 2009.

In March, Microsoft announced that Encarta, the company's encyclopedia software, is shutting down after 16 years. The software was widely seen as having trouble competing as a model against online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia, which were free, versus Encarta Premium 2009's retail price of $29.95. Encarta Websites based in the United States will close down by October, while the Japanese version will continue until the end of 2009.