Intuit claims Microsoft Money advertisements are misleading

Intuit is trying to discredit recent claims made by Microsoft about the two companies' competing financial management packages, Microsoft Money 98 and Intuit's Quicken 98. In December of last year, Microsoft bought full-page ads in major newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, trumpeting results of a survey it had commissioned. The tagline of those ads, and of a sticker placed on the Money 98 box, was '50% of Quicken users say they'll switch to Money 98 Financial Suite.' A Quicken spokesman says the latest figures from PC Data actually show Quicken 98 outselling Money 98 by eight to one.

Intuit is trying to discredit recent claims made by Microsoft about the two companies' competing financial management packages, Microsoft Money 98 and Intuit's Quicken 98.

In December of last year, Microsoft bought full-page ads in major newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, trumpeting results of a survey it had commissioned. The tagline of those ads, and of a sticker placed on the Money 98 box, was "50% of Quicken users say they'll switch to Money 98 Financial Suite."

The Microsoft study was based on hands-on testing by 202 Quicken users, who were overseen by Ohio-based Burke Marketing Research. Investigators asked users to complete a series of five tasks using each of the software programs. Afterwards, 54% said they would buy Money 98 if they were in the market for personal finance software in the future.

But according to Intuit, consumer behavior doesn't bear out this research. Spokesman Adam Samuels says the latest figures from PC Data show Quicken 98 outselling Money 98 by eight to one. And Intuit last month hired NFO Research of San Francisco to do a little research of its own, which consisted of telephone interviews with more than 4,400 Quicken users.

Samuels says, "Of the users in that 4,400 who upgraded this year to a 98 version [of either product], the split was 94.6 purchased a Quicken product, and the remainder purchased a Money product," bringing the number of users who switched to the Microsoft product to "something on the order of 5 percent."

Microsoft yesterday, however, stood behind its research. Product manager Rich Bray said Microsoft's ads aren't meant to imply that Quicken users are defecting in droves to Money, but that based on its own research, Microsoft expects strong movement toward its product.

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