From Eric Dunn, CEO of Quicken: Letter to the Quicken Community about the Subscription Plan
Here's a letter from Eric Dunn, CEO of Quicken Inc., answering some of your questions about the new Quicken subscription plan.
Since the launch of the Subscription release of Quicken, we have heard questions from many of you about the new subscription plan, where customers subscribe to Quicken on an annual basis and automatically receive ongoing product improvements. These questions, which I’ll address below, fall into four main categories:
- Questions about why we are making this change
- Concerns about the ongoing cost of Quicken subscription
- Questions about our product plans after making the change
- Concerns about data ownership and “lock-in”
Why the Change?
Our primary motivation for the change to a subscription model is to simplify the experience of being an ongoing Quicken customer, and to allow us to better focus our company resources on improving the Quicken software, services, and customer care experience.
We know that the majority of Quicken customers are long-term users, who are looking for stability and reliability with as few disruptions as possible. Our users have consistently told us that they dread the upgrade process. At the same time, Quicken needs continual updates in order to perform its function of collecting and organizing financial data for you from a wide variety of sources – data sources which are moving targets due to evolving technology and security considerations.
The best solution, we concluded, was to get all our customers on the same “model year” and to move from “big bang” annual upgrades to a system of continuous releases throughout the year. All customers, no matter when they become a subscriber, will always get the latest version. We achieve this through the change to the subscription model. It also allows us, over time, to focus our communications to you on useful product information rather than annual upgrade pitches.
What about the economics of the subscription plan? It is indeed better for our company – but primarily because it’s a more efficient way of delivering Quicken to users, not because the average user will be paying more (see below). The management team and I here at Quicken are genuinely excited about the change, because we believe it’s a true win-win.
Cost of Ownership
With the change to subscription model, there are changes to the cost of ownership of Quicken. For the many of you who are annual upgraders, Quicken now costs 1/3 less each year ($49.99 for Deluxe vs $74.99). For infrequent upgraders it costs more. Customers who use Quicken BillPay (now Quicken Bill Manager) or Premium Care will see significant savings with a subscription. You also won’t have to buy Quicken twice to use it on both Mac and Windows, since both platforms are included.
We realize that there is a group of Quicken users who purchase Quicken every three years, on sale, and currently have a very low cost of ownership. These customers should know that, as in the past, there are multiple ways to buy Quicken, including from retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, Costco, Sam’s and Walmart.
Finally, I want to assure your that we will keep working hard to ensure that Quicken is the best and most cost-effective way for you to continue managing your money. When Quicken for Windows launched in 1991, the price (in today's dollars) was $108. We expect to continue to make Quicken more affordable in the years ahead.
One concern I have heard expressed is that having moved to the subscription model, we will “rest on our oars” and stop trying to improve Quicken. This is not what you will see: our business success is dependent on our Quicken subscribers seeing enough value so that they keep their subscription. At the same time, the product teams are psyched to be moving to a model where they can continually deliver functionality without having to wait for annual release events. As customers shift from the pre-subscription Quicken 2017 (which is discontinued as of 4/30/2020), the development teams also look forward to being able to put all their efforts into a single Quicken version.
Finally, you should know that today we have the largest and most capable Quicken product team since the mid 1990s. Over the past year, a lot of their work has been invisible as we have undertaken the strenuous work of migrating Quicken from Intuit-operated to Quicken-operated services and technologies. Beginning now, more of their work will become evident as they turn their attention to making Quicken visibly better.
I have heard concerns that with subscription, you may have less control over your data. This isn’t true. Quicken continues to store data locally on your computer. Also, as with previous versions of Quicken, if you choose to use Quicken Mobile, Quicken will sync your data to the Cloud. With the subscription release of Quicken, in fact, we have a new tool for managing multiple Cloud Accounts, allowing you to rename and delete your cloud datasets, as well as giving you access to multiple data files on your mobile device. As in the past (including under our prior Intuit ownership), cloud-synced accounts are stored in a database on Amazon Web Services (“AWS”), a secure, trusted cloud infrastructure used by many of the best-known and most-respected technology companies.
We have also heard concerns about access to Quicken data if you choose not to renew your subscription. With the Quicken Data Access Guarantee, you are assured that you will continue to have full access to and control over your desktop data, even if you don’t renew.
See What is the Quicken Data Access Guarantee? for more details.
What about Quicken 2017?
We will continue to support these products until their discontinuation date of 4/30/2020.
Can I use Quicken on multiple computers?
Yes, you can continue to use Quicken on multiple computers, as in the past. You will need to sign in with the same Quicken ID associated with your subscription, but you can continue to use multiple different desktop files and cloud datasets.
See Can I Install Quicken On Multiple Computers? for more details.
We have changed to a subscription plan to simplify the user experience of being an ongoing Quicken user, to allow us to operate our business more efficiently, and to focus our efforts on delivering a great software, service, and customer care experience. Although the pricing is different, Quicken continues to deliver great value to customers. We expect to deliver product improvements at an accelerated pace going forward, and you will continue to own and control your Quicken data. Overall, we think the subscription plan will be an improvement for everyone.