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Intuit today releases it’s next version of Quicken for Windows in the name of Quicken 2011. I virtually sat down with Intuit’s Product Manager Eddy Wu earlier this week as he showed off some of the new features in Quicken 2011. Wu told me that Intuit wished to bring the easy to use interface of Mint.com to Quicken 2011. While, “Quicken has been known for it’s flexibility and comprehensiveness,” Wu told SvenOnTech, “It has become too complicated,” completing his thought. With the recent acquisition of Mint, Intuit was able to work closely with the Mint interface (UI) team to bring the simplicity of the successful web site to Quicken 2011. Together, Wu went on, the best of both worlds would be realized for the new version of the successful financial software. The overall architecture was looked at and it was designed with a more modern experience found on such programs as Apple’s popular iTunes. The rigid iced columns of previous versions of Quicken are now configurable from sizing to adding or removing columns all together. For example, if you no longer write and print checks, you can simply right-click on the Check and Check Number column and un-check it from the list and – poof! – they are gone. New to the Windows version are more institutions for download with over 12,000. If your bank isn’t listed here folks, it may have gone under. Another feature borrowed from Mint is auto-categorization. So when you make a purchase at Fry’s Electronics, Quicken 2011 will automatically assign it to Computer and Electronics. If you wish to fine tune it, you can it will remember your custom choice.
Something Intuit added that did not come from Mint is a new “stay on top of monthly bills” feature. The feature allows you to create reminders to Quicken 2011 for such reoccurring costs as cable, utilities, rent, and so forth. This will allow you to see a future trends graph giving you an indication how much money you will have, or need, in the coming months.
For the Mac side, Intuit will be releasing its most substantial upgrade release in the history of Quicken for either Mac or WIndows. Wu told me that this was Intuits way of showing Mac users that Intuit is committed to the Mac platform and its users. Back by demand is the ability to write checks with a typical check interface, Tax Schedules, improvements to reports such as Cash Flow, as well as a Spending Over Time Report. Quicken Essentials for Mac increases the power of Investment Performance with the ability to manually add stocks if your institution is not listed. This allows you to add your investments and then for Quicken to automatically update its value.
Intuits goal for Quicken Essentials for Mac is to bring the ease and power of Mint.com to the Mac platform and not release something complex and intimidating. Wu believes 1.5 will accomplish this as well as future releases.