Monday, May 14, 2007

Money 2005 and Expiration

The following words are written in the licence agreement (EULA) for the UK version of Microsoft Money 2005:


Note the date - 1st September 2007 or 2 years after product installation. They also say they have the right to withdraw or modify these services at any time.

Money 2005 was released in late 2004, and so a good proportion of users will have had their 2 years already. Fortunately for them, the 2 year rule has not (yet) been implemented and they continue to be able to download stock price quotes and statements from their bank.

Those people who have tried the scenario mentioned in FAQ Article 354 will have noticed that nothing happened when setting the clock date forward - this would imply that the cut off is also on the server and not totally reliant on the desktop installation of Money.

So, what is going to happen? That is still an unanswered question. The guarantee of Microsoft Money says:

Microsoft guarantees that (a) for a period of 90 days from the date of receipt of your license to use the software or the shortest period permitted by applicable law it will perform substantially in accordance with the written materials that accompany the software

Therefore it has to work for 90 days - Microsoft have an obligation to provide substantial functionality for that amount of time (one can definitely argue that download capabilities fall into this category - and it does mention these on the packaging). If you take 90 days from today (Monday 14th May 2007), this takes us to mid-August, about 2 weeks before the cut off date in the EULA.

In addition, Money is still being sold in the UK by retailers such as, so unless that stops within the next two weeks, then Microsoft will need extend the service (at least for these new purchasers) beyond the 1st September 2007.

Of course, how does Microsoft know that someone buying the product, say in June, has never used 2005 before? Simply by the file conversion date which can then be used to determine when the 90 days are up. However, if someone had bought 2005 before and buys it again for an extension to the online service (unlikely, but possible), then there would need to be a way that they could know this. It is easier to keep it going for all, rather than revisit 3+ year old code and implement a timeout service again coping with this scenario.

When 2005 was released, it probably hadn't been envisaged or decided that there wouldn't be a 2006 or 2007, so Microsoft have managed to get themselves into a position which perhaps is undesirable.

So, in conclusion, it is most likely that before the service is shut down (if it is), we'll have to see it being stopped from sale for 90 days. Only then will we know for sure... this is similar to how Quicken was withdrawn.

One final thought - if we were to see another version - the 2005 version could be immediately withdrawn from the market and servers changed (after 90 days) to allow only the new version to connect.


Anonymous said...

I have just bought and installed a copy of Microsoft Money from Amazon. Invoice is dated 4 July 2007 and I have come across this 1 Sept expiry date for the first time. Surely Amazon should warn their customers that this product may well have a life of only 2 months before they take the cash. They could end up with a lot of returns.

Glyn said...

Hi Gerald

you shoudl be okay still, as the warranty states 90 days. If Microsoft decided to terminate the download service on 1 September (I am extremely confident that they won't), you can argue that it wasn't fit for purpose. Amazon might not want to give you a refund, but Microsoft would need to.

As stated in the original post, it's very unclear on when exactly the download service will be terminated, and it is linked in with a decision on a future version of Microsoft Money in the UK.

I think we're good to go with downloads for quite a while yet.

Anonymous said...

The Internet services referred to may be the MS-sourced online quotes etc., rather than the OFX-type downloads from Financial Institutions (as it's just an XML-like file by the look of it).

Still looking for an upgrade path from Money 200 Standard (the Internet was in black & white then!)


Glyn said...

Hi SteveK

I put together a very short list of what was included in the internet-based services here.

OFX (and QIF) can be stopped, but not as backup file imports (QIF only). Whether they will be stopped or not is another question.

Recently, the UK Money site page has changed which now indicates 1 December 2009, which should be beneficial to all. I've just put a short comment up on this.