Intuit, Microsoft?s arch-rival in the personal finance software market, is to evolve into an online centre for financial services.
Over the next two years the company plans to build a number of Web sites that customers can access from its Quicken desktop product. Users will be able to buy insurance policies, home mortgages and retirement plans from various suppliers, online from these sites. Intuit will get a cut of every product sold via its sites.
The US version of Quicken already has significant online capabilities, allowing customers to look at insurance content, stock quotes and investments from their PC. But in the UK the market, and the product's online facilities, are still undeveloped.
?Our plan is to encourage as many people to come online as possible,? said Tony Macklin, product manager for Quicken in the UK. ?But we have to localise content. In the US we have been developing online capabilities for a while. We have a larger user base there and there is a higher penetration of modems and people online.?
This week the company?s UK arm has announced a link-up with Infotrade, a UK-based online personal finance service, which enables people to search for mortgage and insurance products and the latest financial news. It has also launched version 6.0 of its Quicken software product.
?With Quicken 6.0 we are offering users a free copy of Internet Explorer and six months Internet usage with Infotrade. It is the first step towards producing a connected product,? said Macklin.
Intuit currently has a 70 per cent share of the personal finance software market in the UK but, according to analysts, the company is diversifying because of slowing sales and competition from Microsoft Money.
?We will continue to develop and make money from our desktop applications but overtime online financial services will become our primary focus,? said Jacqueline Maartense, UK managing director of Intuit.
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