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April 29th, 2008
07:50 am

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QuickBooks free edition?
When set out to set up Tumble Rock, I decided that I needed to do proper accounting. When I ran Painless Computing, I used QuickBooks very successfully, so I decided to check out what the latest version looked like.

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?

Current Mood: curiouscurious

(6 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:c1
Date:April 29th, 2008 12:04 pm (UTC)

For the record. (A thread hijacking!)

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To rob and mangle a phrase from 2001: "My God, it's full of

...Because around these parts, *nobody's* pedantic!!

In the book, yes. Kubrick's film, no.

If you meant film, you're mangling a phrase from the beginning of Peter Hyam's 2010. "My God, it's full of stars!" is one of the best quotes that was never said in 2001.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.
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From:happypete
Date:April 29th, 2008 12:41 pm (UTC)

Re: For the record. (A thread hijacking!)

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Well, of course I meant the book! * Snerk *
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From:flyingwolf
Date:April 29th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
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I've got a mac and have an older paid version 'cause I heard the new mac version SUCKS.
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From:awfief
Date:April 29th, 2008 07:26 pm (UTC)
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I think part of the success is not advertising it. People think "what's wrong with it if it's free?" (cf, "I've heard the new mac version sucks"....but haven't tried it to verify!)

Also, many people save money by not upgrading every year, and have someone else deal with the taxes (the upgrade is for the new tax laws, etc). So most people don't upgrade anyway, and those that will upgrade will be happy for a "free upgrade".

It's only the people *new* to it, or coming back to it, that will understand how free it really is. And those coming back to it already know how good QuickBooks is and is totally willing to give the free version a try.
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From:c1
Date:April 29th, 2008 10:53 pm (UTC)
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Dunno about QuickBooks, but I know for sure that Quicken for the Mac truly sucks rocks. There isn't anything about it that I can't do after two minutes of writing formulas in any modern spreadsheet program*. I've since caved and gotten a copy of iWork '08, which has just that modern spreadsheet program, and better yet, templates!

The best feature of Quicken for the PeeCee is that it can magically download account info. Someone forgot to send the Intuit Mac team that memo. When they finally pull their heads out of the sand, I might look into it.
Yup...

*Indeed, one friend characterized it as "Quicken... adds things up. Yes." So doesn't the $.50 calculator you can buy at Wally-World.
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From:emmmitt
Date:April 29th, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC)
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the business process is totally sound.

And I'm not just saying this as an integration engineer that makes truck loads of money cramming opening source software together.

THE OS community has some of the best development practices and stuff, why not leverage that, custom up and then charge people for the cool services they will end up using anyway.

Isn't that how LJ works?
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