The story of Microsoft Money, the personal finance app that wanted to tackle Quicken

Microsoft Excel has become the most versatile tool to organize our economy and personal finances. But for a few years, Microsoft tried its luck with Microsoft Money.

Microsoft’s 40+ years have gone a long way. Although Windows and Office are its emblems, names like Azure, Xbox, Outlook or OneDrive are gaining ground and expanding the product portfolio of this software giant that today also offers Internet hardware and services.

In the past we have talked about some of Microsoft’s past developments, such as its paid computer games. But its historical catalog is huge. The mythical Encarta encyclopedia, your Microsoft Comic Chat group conversation app, your alternative office suite called Microsoft Works …

The list goes on and on, and among the names we can find, we are going to highlight Microsoft Money, a program for Windows that was used to manage your personal finances, born in late 1991 and which ended its life cycle in 2012, already fallen practically forgotten and converted to an online portal with the same name when Microsoft had an internet presence under the MSN brand.

Bringing finances closer to your home

Microsoft was born at a time when computing was closed ground for companies and organizations of a certain size. Only they could afford the expensive and complicated to operate machines of the time. It was not until the late 1970s that so-called microcomputing began to become popular, bringing computers closer to any environment, including homes.

Today it is common to have all kinds of devices connected at home, but back then, accessing a computer for the first time was somewhat limited to libraries, institutes or universities. And what about economics and finance, a terrain that is sometimes as complex as the computing of yesteryear.

After Microsoft’s early successes, such as its own DOS version or its own BASIC language interpreter, in the 1990s Microsoft will release its first versions of Windows. Although Windows 1.0 is from 1985, success will come with Windows 3.0 in 1990. That same year Office 1.0 will be released with Word, Excel and PowerPoint. And in late 1991, Microsoft will put Microsoft Money up for sale.

The reason for launching a program like Microsoft Money is to expand its catalog and deal with Quicken, the personal finance software born in 1983 and which had become the most popular option at the time.

With a modest acceptance, after three versions between 1991 and 1994, the launch of Microsoft Money occurs, as happened to Internet Explorer, with the release of Windows 95. Along with 3.x, this version will be one of the most remembered and most successful, not only for its interface change but also for its many improvements over previous versions.

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