Microsoft may just have acknowledged that digital distribution of software, long (relatively) used for distribution and sales of games, may just be ready to hit the big time. In an understated announcement on a newsgroup, by an MVP, Microsoft has announced it is going to halt the sale of boxed copies of its Quicken competitor, Money Plus. Additionally, they have decided to skip a 2009 version. Here's the news from the newsgroup post:
Microsoft Money Plus continues to be a valuable tool for our customers; however the feedback we are hearing is that the incremental updates to the software don't merit a new product every year. Given this, we have decided against releasing a 2009 version of Money Plus.It should be noted that Money is one of those applications that's easily downloaded: meaning small. Personally, for most apps of this size we're pretty disappointed if we actually have to buy a boxed copy. These apps are small enough for people without broadband service to download. So, while Microsoft also added:
100% Online distribution (out of the packaging business and physical retail store shelves)
More and more retail consumers are going online to shop the endless rows of digital shelves. In response to our retail partners' needs, consumer behavior and business efficiencies, Microsoft is focusing distribution efforts for Microsoft Money Plus software online via download and discontinuing traditional box sales of the software at retail. Microsoft Money Plus will continue to be available at retail outlets while supplies last. We have stopped shipping new product to retail outlets.
Microsoft does not see shrink wrapped software going away anytime soon and we are always talking to customers about different ways to price and package our software offerings. The company is evolving its strategy and product solutions to meet customer demand and optimize business efficiencies.It still points to the fact that places like Best Buy, Circuit City, Fry's Electronics aren't going to be able to stock the product, except on their websites. We're not sure how brick-and-mortar retailers will feel about this. Finally, Microsoft did tell Ina Fried that in the past 12 months, half of the sales for Money Plus have come via digital download. So this move makes sense, though the lack of annual updates, particularly since some of that update always consisted of a catch-up move to be able to import the latest edition of Quicken, is interesting.