Money Goes Marketing
Microsoft's annual refresh of its Money personal finance software seems designed primarily to market new services to the wealthy or debt-ridden by offering various free trials. Priced at $80, the first
Other free options include MSN Bill Pay, H&R Block's Web-based federal tax service, and a single financial consultation with American Express.
The $90 Money 2004 Small Business--which supplants Money 2003 Deluxe & Business--adds a free year of PayCycle's payroll service. The $30 Money Standard, however, doesn't offer any freebies. These free trials represent real value to some people. And like their antecedents in last year's edition, Money's user interface and setup are top-notch. You even get a few minor but useful additions such as a tool for calculating the true cost of buying on credit.
Unfortunately, the partner logos sprinkled throughout my preproduction version of Money make the marketing efforts painfully intrusive. The new edition's undisguised focus on pushing additional services hardly gives users a compelling reason to upgrade.