You could have knocked me down with a feather when I discovered that there was a free edition. I couldn't figure it out. As I dug deeper, I found that all of the add-on services were web-based services such as credit card processing, payroll, etc. The core application is now this free, basic book-keeping product. But...how could they give it away--and more importantly, why, considering that people would likely pay for that and nothing else.
So, I dug deeper and found under the Help->About page a button for "Third-Party Components."
To rob and mangle a phrase from 2001: "My God, it's full of [Open Source!]" NMatrick Schematron.net, lucene, and log4net, to name three that I could tell right away from the terms used one of the various open source license structures.
It's brilliant--leverage open source to build a cheaper, better base product which you can afford to give away, because you saved as much as your profit margins would have been in distributing it for sale--and then use that platform to hook people in to all of your value-added services [where the real, annuity money is].
This feels so right to me--but can any of you business-savvy folks out there tell me if this seeming bold move is really working out for Intuit?