Quicken for Lion: Why does Intuit hate Mac users? (And why doesn’t Apple save us?)
(August 31, 2011 update: A shorter version of this article is located at Mac|Life Magazine.)
(December 16, 2011 update: For a brief time, you were able to run Quicken 2007 for Mac on a Lion machine using VMWare Fusion 4.1 running Snow Leopard. However, VMWare closed this loophole with the release of VMWare Fusion 4.1.1.)
(February 1, 2012 update: Intuit has announced that they will be making a Lion-compatible version of Quicken 2007 in spring of 2012. it’s not really the full commitment that we wanted to see from Intuit, but at least our 6-year-old version of Quicken will still continue to run under Lion. Hopefully. We’ll see if this actually comes to fruition or not. As we all know, Intuit is a company that can NOT be trusted at all.)
(March 17, 2012 update: Quicken is now available for Lion! I’ve downloaded this and I’ve used every single feature of it over the last week, and it works perfectly for me! I am a very happy camper! Also, it is much MUCH faster than the previous version of Quicken! Hip hip hooray!
Intuit, the company behind Quicken and QuickBooks, has shown such contempt towards Mac users for almost 30 years that I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that their disrespect continues stronger than ever in the year 2011. But I am still trying to figure out the answer to the question of why Intuit has proactively taken more steps than any other software company to undermine Mac users worldwide and to try to diminish the legitimacy of Apple’s operating systems, despite the fact that Apple is now the largest technology company on earth.
Even though we now live in the glorious age of Apple’s technology renaissance when longtime-PC companies (such as AutoDesk) are actively embracing Mac OS X and iOS, Intuit has astonishingly decided to turn it back on Mac users more strongly than ever before.
Forget the fact that Intuit’s Mac products have always paled in comparison to their Windows counterparts by missing 90% of the features that Windows users have long enjoyed. Forget the fact that Intuit has worked overtime to make sure that their Mac & Windows products would never be cross-platform compatible (this is an internal corporate rule at Intuit). Forget the fact that Intuit had already abandoned Mac users twice in the past — first by discontinuing Quicken for Mac in 1997 and then discontinuing QuickBooks for Mac in 2003. (Mac users forgave Intuit when they begrudgingly came back with lackluster updates for these products years later.) And forget the fact that Intuit’s former CEO Bill Campbell has sat on Apple’s Board of Directors since 1997, yet Apple shareholders have mindlessly allowed this jerk to sit on the board for 14 years while he continued to stab Mac users in the back every chance he could get. (As an Apple shareholder myself, I have voted against Bill Campbell every single year, and I highly urge all other Apple shareholders to do what they can to kick this guy off the board as well.)
If all of this wasn’t bad enough, Intuit’s latest assault on Mac users is that Quicken 2007 for Mac will not run under Apple’s newest operating system, Lion (Mac OS X 10.7), and they have no plans on updating this product for Lion compatibility. So if you buy a new Mac in late 2011, or if you upgrade your Mac to Lion, you won’t even be able to launch Quicken anymore. I have confirmed this information with two different Intuit representatives, who told me that Quicken for Mac has reached “end of life”, meaning that there will be no future updates to this product. Considering that Intuit last updated this product almost 5 years ago — in August 2006 — I guess we all should have seen this coming.
Recent comments from Intuit’s Aaron Patzer have given false hope to Mac users, but read them closely to really understand what he is saying: Intuit has had five years to develop a new version of Quicken, but they are not working on any new Quicken releases for Mac users, and they are not certain if this mythical Rosetta patch will ever come to market. (March 17, 2012 update: Quicken for Lion is now available, and it works perfectly! I haven’t had one problem with it at all.)
But the real problem here isn’t Intuit’s disgusting treatment of Mac users. The real problem is that Intuit has held a monopoly on the personal finance software market for Mac, so Mac users have had no other viable personal financial management products to choose from until recently. At least with the business-oriented QuickBooks, Mac users can switch to the highly-superior & much more full-featured AccountEdge, but when it comes to personal finance management, Quicken 2007 was pathetically still the best & most full-featured choice that Mac users have.
But luckily, Mac users have 2 viable alternatives to choose from:
See Finance was the only personal finance program that could successfully import my 22 years worth of Quicken data, and it seems to offer the vast majority of features that Quicken 2007 had. See Finance also adds the ability to natively handle foreign currencies, it offers a very large amount of customization in its preferences, and its tech support team is extremely responsive. However, it still hasn’t reached version 1.0 yet, and it shows in a few ways: it can’t print checks, link transfers between accounts, or delay a scheduled transaction. And its user interface is somewhat clunky and confusing. But See Finance is accurate and dependable, and the See Finance users with whom I’ve spoken to absolutely love the product. See Finance is a very strong alternative for Mac users.
iBank 4 is trying hard to be the de facto Quicken replacement for Mac users, but in my personal opinion, it fails. On the surface, iBank seems to offer most of the features that Quicken 2007 had and its interface is beautiful. But once you actually start using the app on a daily basis, you might be as frustrated as I am about how it functions. After trying this app for 6 months, I have discovered dozens of bugs in the product, which I have reported to technical support to no avail. Oh, by the way, regarding their technical support: the company often takes 4-6 weeks to respond to inquiries. If you take a look at the frustrated users on their forums, you will see that the same complaints keep arising with the product yet the company has failed to address many of them in the product for years! Out of the many bugs that I have reported in this product, these are just a few of iBank’s bigger problems, bugs, and missing features:
– Downloading transactions from Fidelity Bank investment accounts no longer works… it always yields ZERO transactions waiting to be downloaded.
– Importing QIF files from iPhone apps doesn’t work as expected (it always marks every imported transaction as cleared).
– Setting up fixed-rate auto loans or home loans is broken (it can’t figure out principal and interest payments properly).
– Reporting is absolutely terrible (it lacks almost all of the customization capabilities that Quicken offered), so you can’t even get your data out of the product to do your taxes.
– You can’t view upcoming scheduled transactions (you can only view “all” scheduled transactions, not just the “upcoming” ones), and iBank only alerts you on the VERY DAY that those scheduled transactions are due.
– iBank cannot handle all scheduled transactions properly… it often creeps the date forward by one day from month-to-month, depending on the month. If you try to fix this by editing a scheduled transaction that you were alerted incorrectly about, iBank then “forgets” about that scheduled transaction and it doesn’t alert you about that transaction ever again.
– There is no support for bill pay or class support.
– No keyboard shortcuts throughout most of the program… you are forced to use the mouse everywhere.
– If you password-protect your file, iBank takes an increasingly long time to open your file. Eventually, you’ll be waiting several minutes just for your file to open.
– Technical support responses are very slow and often nonexistent.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I wish I could recommend iBank because it is so beautiful, but I can’t at this time.
What about the other personal finance products that claim to be Mac-compatible? There are no other viable alternatives for Mac users. Here’s why:
Moneydance is a cross-platform product that has its roots in Windows, and it shows by its ugly Java-based interface. Java is no longer installed by default in Lion, which may be a problem for some Mac users who are trying to use Moneydance. More importantly, Moneydance was unable to import my 22-year history of Quicken data; it yields wildly inaccurate account balances and thousands of erroneous transactions after performing an import. Their friendly and responsive technical support department told me that they DO NOT SUPPORT the importing of any data from Quicken for Mac. They told me that they would NOT be able to help me import any of my data into the product. They told me that I should either start from scratch with a clean slate, or manually scroll through 22 years of data to try to figure out where the problems are. Highly unlikely. Given Moneydance’s aversion to Mac users, this is one product that Mac users should avoid.
Quicken for Windows is something that many Mac users are eyeing, to run in a virtual environment on their Macs (such as Parallels or VMWare Fusion). Even if you can stomach the idea of running Windows on your Mac, you’ll still be out of luck. Readers have alerted me that Quicken for Windows is NOT a viable option for former Quicken for Mac users. Quicken for Windows WILL NOT IMPORT any investment information from Quicken for Mac. It also will NOT import online bank account information, securities, loans, reminders, scheduled transactions, memorized transactions, calendar events, reports, or budgets. Given that Intuit actually created both Quicken for Mac and Quicken for Windows, this just underscores Intuit’s complete inability to create software that actually works for any consumers. It is my personal opinion that all Mac users should permanently ban ALL Intuit products from entering their households or their friends’ households. Intuit is a joke of a company.
Mint.com is getting a lot of attention because of their multi-million dollar advertising budget, but don’t be fooled. Mint.com is not truly a personal finance manager — it simply downloads your transactions automatically from your banks in a read-only format, designed for you to simply view your information. You can’t add new transactions, edit transactions, reconcile accounts, track investments, schedule payments, nothing. These horrible deficiencies are probably to be expected, though, since mint.com is yet another product released by the horrible Intuit company.
Last year, Intuit disgustingly threw a bone to starving Mac customers in the form of Quicken Essentials for Mac, one of the worst / reviewed / software / products that I have ever seen. This product was such a slap in the face to Mac users that I have no idea how Intuit employees can sleep at night without feeling an overwhelming sense of shame. Do Intuit employees pride themselves on making other people’s lives miserable? Quicken Essentials is missing 99% of the features that people actually need in a personal finance program, and it is missing almost all of the features that were available in Quicken 2007 for Mac. This new product barely even lets you enter in basic checkbook entries, let alone the hundreds of other features that were in Quicken 2007. You can’t print checks, you can’t track investments, you can’t schedule repeating transactions, you can’t import or export QIF format, you can’t do bill pay, you can’t manually reconcile accounts unless you download statements directly into the product, you can’t run customized reports, you can’t search transactions, you can’t edit memorized lists, you can’t export to TurboTax, you can’t backup to your MobileMe iDisk, you can’t budget or forecast… shall I go on? Basically choose ANY feature from Quicken and it will be missing from Quicken Essentials.
And yet the horror gets even worse. The same Intuit representatives mentioned above expressed doubt to me that Quicken Essentials for Mac would even be continued due to lackluster sales. Um, what? Do you expect people to actually pony up $50 for a program that an elementary school kid could write in a weekend in his free time? And now you’re going to discontinue your Mac product yet again? Not to mention the fact that Intuit has completely ignored iOS altogether. Luckily, I have been using the outstanding Pocket Money for iPhone, which lets me manually keep Quicken in sync between my iPhone and my Mac using SyncDocs. But at Intuit, they don’t even so much as acknowledge that iOS is the world’s largest mobile platform.
So my initial question remains:
1. Why does Intuit hate Mac users so much? Is it because of Intuit’s very deep relationship with Microsoft that continues to grow deeper by the day? It seems very logical that Microsoft would put a great deal of pressure on Intuit to try to destroy Mac users in every way possible. Although it’s almost too easy to pass the blame entirely onto another company. The most likely answer is that Intuit is just comprised of a bunch of jackasses who don’t have to lift a finger because they already hold a monopoly position. Intuit doesn’t have to lift a finger for Mac users because they hold a monopoly position and they make billions of dollars every year selling their tax software. Many years before QuickBooks was resurrected for the Mac in 2006, a smug Intuit employee at Macworld Expo told me, “We don’t need to update QuickBooks, because it’s still the No. 1 best-selling accounting package for Mac. Mac users still purchase it, even without any new updates.” Seems like their attitude hasn’t changed much.
Which brings me to my second question:
2. What can Mac users switch to instead of Quicken? Until March 2012, I hadn’t found any viable alternatives for Mac OS X. But fortunately, Quicken has now released Quicken for Lion and it is working 100% perfectly for me.
Which leads to my final question:
3. Why didn’t Apple save us? Apple makes world-class, award-winning software, so why didn’t they put together the talent to create an amazing personal financial solution? Why didn’t Apple simply take the lead in this market? Yes, it is a huge relief that 2 third-party developers have stepped up to the plate to deliver alternatives to Mac users, but why did Apple allow their own Mac users to get placed in this precarious position to begin with? It’s a sad state of affairs when Apple itself undermines the entire Mac platform.
It baffles me that we are in the year 2011 and that Apple is the world’s largest technology company, yet this was the sad state of affairs for Mac users until recently.
If you’ve abandoned Quicken for another Mac-friendly solution that’s working for you, we’d love to hear about it in the comments.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If so, please donate a small amount so that I can continue to post blog articles in the future.