Microsoft Unveils 'Money Plus' - InformationWeek

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Microsoft Unveils 'Money Plus'

The software allows for third-party financial services including identity theft monitoring, tax preparation, and investment education.

Microsoft on Friday released updated versions of its Microsoft Money personal finance management software.

At a time when more and more consumers are faced with a credit crunch and sagging stock portfolios, Microsoft Money Plus offers several new tools to help users keep a tighter rein on their finances.

Enhanced utilities provide alerts on when bills are due or overdue, offer detailed cash flow analysis, and track a number of markets -- including stock exchanges, currencies and commodities -- through a dashboard, according to Microsoft.

An "Insights" feature makes key financial data available on the desktop so users don't have to launch the full application to get a quick update on their finances.

"Everyone is busy these days, and sometimes you just need to know your account balance or check out whether you have enough extra cash to splurge on dinner, an amazing outfit, or the latest 'must have' golf gadget," said Chris Jolley, group manager of the financial products group at Microsoft. The company has been offering personal finance software for 17 years, including last year's $20 download-only Money Essentials.

Microsoft is also using Microsoft Money Plus as a platform through which it can deliver third-party financial services to users. Identity theft monitoring, tax preparation, and investment education are among them.

Microsoft has partnered with Experian, H&R Block, The Street.com, and others to provide the services.

Microsoft Money Plus Deluxe sells for $49.99 with a $20.00 mail-in rebate. Money Plus Premium sells for $79.99 with a $30.00 rebate. A Home and Business edition sells for $89.99, also with a $30.00 rebate.

Microsoft is making a basic edition of the program available as a download for $19.99. The Money Plus software requires Windows XP (with SP2) or Windows Vista.

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