It's 2024: Time for Feature Parity between platforms

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claro814
claro814 Member ✭✭

I've been using Quicken since the 90s and the most consistent, and consistently disregarded, request I see is for feature parity. I did a quick search for "Feature Parity" and immediately saw several threads, all of which have been closed for various reasons. So I'm starting another one.

Quicken for Mac has come a long way, but why can't it do basic things like: link a loan for auto financing to the asset account for vehicle which is being financed? Why is it still not possible to properly handle investment checking accounts, like the CMA from Merrill Lynch? Why are there still so many more features in the Windows version than the Mac one? Users have been clamoring for this for decades, but the gap is still large. When will Quicken take this seriously?

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  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
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    They're working on it. They're working on it. Rome wasn't built in a day.

    Q user since February, 1990. DOS Version 4
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription, Business & Personal
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP

  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Windows is about 72% of the computer market. Mac is about 15%. I'm guessing that Quicken Classic's sales probably mirrors these percentages fairly closely. I think if I were Quicken I would probably expend most of my development resources along those same lines.

    That all being said, QWin as a product has had about 40 yrs of development (when including the original DOS software). That's a lot of time to put into place a lot of product features and capabilities.

    The current QMac product (a totally different software from QWin) was released about 10 yrs ago. They are closing the gap between QMac and QWin but it is taking time, especially since Quicken Inc. is such a small company. I think if more Windows users would switch to Mac computers the pace of the gap closing would accelerate, as well. But it seems that the market shares of Windows computers and Mac computers has remained relatively stable for at least the last 10 yrs (although Mac is very slowly taking market share from Windows) so I don't anticipate any big changes in this regard happening anytime soon.

    Quicken Classic Premier (US) Subscription: R55.26 on Windows 11

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    Windows is about 72% of the computer market. Mac is about 15%. I'm guessing that Quicken Classic's sales probably mirrors these percentages fairly closely.

    @Boatnmaniac It would be interesting to know, but my guess is that Quicken Mac's share of the user base is larger. Why? Because Windows dominates int he business world, but Quicken is a home-use product. I think there are a lot of people who use a Mac at home, or who have retired from the workplace and moved to a Mac.

    @claro814 "When will Quicken take this seriously?" I think they do. As a Quicken Mac user, I have watched the features grow and mature. But what you want is for them to wave a magic wand to achieve parity. It doesn't work that way; every feature needs to be designed and coded, one at a time. The Mac development team is small, and there is no shortcut. If they could double the size of the development team, that would lead to acceleration of feature development, but it seems apparent Quicken Mac doesn't generate the revenue it would take to do that. That doesn't mean they don't "take it seriously".

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
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    I’m always amazed at how other people live in such a simple world, mine is complicated.

    Other people seem to be able to make a simple statement like “feature parity” and somehow it gets done.

    In my world even if the task was only to write down ALL of the features each version of Quicken has, I don’t think that would be possible, let alone implementing them with a limited amount of resources. The only way I know to have true feature parity is if they are the same code base, and even then there might limitations on a given operating system/hardware that might not allow for 100% feature parity.

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  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    The only way I know to have true feature parity is if they are the same code base, and even then there might limitations on a given operating system/hardware that might not allow for 100% feature parity.

    @Chris_QPW That's taking it to the nth degree; I think the broad desire is for "approximate" feature parity, or "general" feature parity, or even "near" feature parity. You're correct that it will never be 100% identical unless both Quicken Windows and Quicken Mac are re-written to run from a single code base — and that's not going to happen.

    But the problem for even getting close to general parity of features is that there are likely a few hundred features users can identify which exist in Quicken Windows and not Quicken Mac. And this is where the Idea topics on this site come into play: user identify a needed/desired feature, other users chime in, the developers periodically review the big list, decide what's practical and impactful, and keep chugging away. So we get good forward progress, just not as much or as fast as users would like — but that's probably about as good as it's ever gonna get.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • jtemplin
    jtemplin Member ✭✭✭✭
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    File along with this (on the Windows side):

    "We want dark mode. Why aren't you taking this seriously?"

    "We want 64-bit. Why aren't you taking this seriously?"

    And I can predict sometime very soon: "We want ARM-native. Why aren't you taking this seriously?"

    The beat goes on.

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
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    @jacobs yes I was exaggerating a bit, but you shouldn’t underestimate people’s ability to consider every little “feature “ essential and be outraged when that feature hasn’t yet been implemented.

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  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 4
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    @jacobs -

    Windows is about 72% of the computer market. Mac is about 15%. I'm guessing that Quicken Classic's sales probably mirrors these percentages
    fairly closely.

    It would be interesting to know, but my guess is that Quicken Mac's share of the user base is larger. Why? Because Windows dominates in the business world, but Quicken is a home-use product. I think there are a lot of people who use a Mac at home, or who have retired from the workplace and moved to a Mac.

    Yes, that would be interesting to find out. In my circle of friends and family I know of a couple who have Macs and they absolutely love them. But most are like me….went to school & college with Windows, worked every job with Windows, didn't want to learn a new OS all over, again, not to mention having to find new options for some of the software we want to run….maybe just too lazy to try something new. But also for many of us we find the cost for Macs to be just too much to swallow. Cost is also the main reason why my wife and I both have Android phones instead of iPhones.

    The other thing I'd be interested in finding out is how many Mac users have decided to run QWin on a VM.

    I tried to find some data on the Mac/Win mix for the home market but the only source I could find wanted $199 from me for that data. Did I say I tend to be cheap? 😏 So, I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer to find out.

    Quicken Classic Premier (US) Subscription: R55.26 on Windows 11

  • eqpu
    eqpu Member ✭✭✭✭
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    most are like me….went to school & college with Windows, worked every job with Windows, didn't want to learn a new OS all over, again, not to mention having to find new options for some of the software we want to run….maybe just too lazy to try something new. But also for many of us we find the cost for Macs to be just too much to swallow. Cost is also the main reason why my wife and I both have Android phones instead of iPhones.

    Same here.

    Why buy a new and kind of "locked in and proprietary" OS at an exorbitant cost. Apple designs its own machines and own iPhones which are very tightly tied to its own ecosystem and are exorbitantly expensive.

    While Windows is also proprietary OS, it works on a whole lot of machines from so many different manufacturers or assembled by DIY users. This allows all price point users to be able to afford Windows. e.g. You can get a fully functional basic Windows laptop at $300 but definitely not a Mac. I have not even heard of a Mac been assembled yet.

    As an example, Apple had its own charging cable for iPhones for years even though it could have easily adopted the normal standard charging cable of the time to charge its phones. Charging for a phone does not alter its other good or bad features in any way whatsoever. It is only when countries in EU and India adopted laws to use USB-C as a standard charging mechanism for all the mobile phones produced after a certain date, did Apple fall in place. This to me, is trying to squeeze the customers and making more money by using proprietary stuff which does not add any additional value to the product at all in any manner whatsoever.

    Quicken 2012 Premier on Windows 11 Pro (Quicken User since Quicken 1998)

  • eqpu
    eqpu Member ✭✭✭✭
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    The only way I know to have true feature parity is if they are the same code base, and even then there might limitations on a given operating system/hardware that might not allow for 100% feature parity.

    I do not have a systems programmer background but I guess that Quicken for Windows is using too many of the Windows (and DOS) based features that may not be directly compatible or available in the Mac ecosystem. Otherwise, why would a company not use the same code base to make things easy for them to maintain and also have a better market share. Some feature differences are acceptable but a fully different code base means much more than meets the eye.

    Quicken 2012 Premier on Windows 11 Pro (Quicken User since Quicken 1998)

  • eqpu
    eqpu Member ✭✭✭✭
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    I'd be interested in finding out is how many Mac users have decided to run QWin on a VM

    This will be a really interesting statistic to watch not only for Quicken as there are a whole lot of other software which are not full featured on Mac but are on Windows.

    Quicken 2012 Premier on Windows 11 Pro (Quicken User since Quicken 1998)

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    @eqpu I'm not sure why you're writing to basically denigrate Apple products. It's fine that you have chosen not to use them, for cost or other reasons. I'd argue most of the points you raised about "exorbitant" cost for a Mac, "new locked in and proprietary OS", etc., but there's no reason for to debate why Macs exist or why millions of people buy and prefer them. How about we just accept that they do exist and many people use them? 😀

    I guess that Quicken for Windows is using too many of the Windows (and DOS) based features that may not be directly compatible or available in the Mac ecosystem. Otherwise, why would a company not use the same code base to make things easy for them to maintain and also have a better market share.

    You are correct. Quicken Windows uses many underlying features of the Windows operating system, and Quicken Mac uses many underlying features of the Mac operating system. For instance, the core database in Quicken Mac is SQLite, which is part of macOS; it's a different database than the much older one used by Quicken Windows. (Using a robust, modern database means Quicken Mac doesn't have the types of corruption Quicken Windows does; there's no Validate and Repair functionality in Quicken Mac because it's not needed.) A lot of what's displayed on the screen uses macOS frameworks and libraries so it doesn't need to be coded entirely from scratch saving thousands of hours and millions of lines of coding — and here again, this underlying architecture is different than Quicken Windows. (I won't gloat here that this is part of the reason Quicken Mac added dark mode two years ago while it's still a work in progress for Quicken Windows. 😉)

    Looking back at the history of the products and how they evolved is illuminating. The original Quicken Mac program was built around a number of technologies in the original Mac operating system, and after Apple rewrote the operating system to be built on Unix in the early 2000s, a lot of the old technologies were slated for removal from the OS. Quicken Mac used many of those old technologies, for its database, its screen drawing, and more, and it reached the end of the line with the Quicken 2007 release. Back then, the powers that be at former parent Intuit faced a big decision about what to do to provide Quicken on Macs going forward. Their easiest solution would have been to port the code from Quicken Windows to the Mac to move forward with a single code base — but they didn't. It simply couldn't be done because Quicken Windows was inexorably tied to the underpinnings of the Windows OS. A single code base would have required rebuilding Quicken Windows on cross-platform technologies, a massive task. Instead, they set out to build a new generation of Quicken for the modern, Mac maintaining the look and feel of Mac applications. I won't go into the ways Intuit fumbled the ball over a number of years and almost killed Quicken Mac in that process, but eventually they got a viable product to market in 2014. And for the past years they have been working to add features and functionality, a process which continues today. Many Quicken Windows users feel not much of significance has changed in Quicken Windows over the past decade, Quicken Mac has unquestionably improved by leaps and bounds. Year by year, Quicken Mac adds more features which have existed in Quicken Windows, and the programs grow closer — but they probably will never match exactly feature for feature.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
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    I'm not a big fan of Intuit (just the opposite), but in my opinion they mostly made the right decisions. Which is also true of Quicken Inc.

    To get the right perspective you need to take into account technical, business, and market.

    There is a statement that Quicken Mac got rewritten because of Apple changed to a Unix based system and that is true, but that isn't the only reason for the rewrite. There is the fact that it was code was getting really hard to maintain (because of all the complicated, not natively supported features) and because the users were wanting a "Mac, not Windows clone" version. That is really telling in my book as a programmer. Why would a Mac program look like a Windows program? Because they tried to do exactly what people are suggesting, reusing the same code.

    Code sharing is a double edge sword. And to do it in a way that doesn't push one operating system's look and feel on another or a completely different one (I'm looking at you Java!) is EXTREMELY difficult.

    Another piece of history people tend to forget is market share. At the time the iPhone didn't exist, and Macs were less than 5% of the market, not even taking into account it might have been less percentage for the Quicken mix.

    On top of this if Intuit has decided to rewrite the Windows version so that they had a common software code it is my belief that Quicken would not be here today.

    @jacobs has mentioned how Intuit "dropped the ball" for several years. Well, that is really a "user perspective" not a business one. Again, the market share was small, but more to the point, every year Quicken Mac was costing them money and making them nothing!

    They stopped the work on the old Quicken in 2007 and came out with Quicken Mac Essentials in 2010. Which the Quicken Mac community quickly embraced, and praised and used, and paid for, NOT!!! It was a big flop that almost no one would pay for. Now this is the period of time where Intuit "dropped the ball" and slacked off and didn't put more into the development.

    But was that the wrong decision? No, money coming in for the product. People insisting, they keep supporting Quicken Mac 2007 (which they did), market share still small. This isn't exactly the formula for "let's through all our resources at getting out a new version" kind of statements.

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  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    There is a statement that Quicken Mac got rewritten because of Apple changed to a Unix based system and that is true, but that isn't the only reason for the rewrite.

    True; I was simplifying. The original Quicken Mac database had some of its own problems. The biggest thing is Apple signaled that they would be making macOS a 64-bit operating system and deprecating all 32-but features. This meant that QuickDraw, the architecture used since the early days of the Mac, would be retired — and all of Quicken Mac's user interface was built around QuickDraw. And there's more. The point is that Apple switched the core of the operating system, and kept old applications running for years after that with some clever programming (Rosetta) which allowed code for the original macOS to continue to run. But the writing was on the wall for developers, and the team at Intuit could see there was no viable way to update all their code to run on a modern 64-bit Mac operating system, so they decided to start over. And that allowed them to jettison some of the legacy code which was old and problematic to maintain.

    @jacobs has mentioned how Intuit "dropped the ball" for several years. Well, that is really a "user perspective" not a business one. 

    Actually, it's much more than that — and they did bungle it from a product development perspective, several times, as well. When they started development on the new Mac version back in 2006, it was designed to be radically different. Intuit first announced and demonstrated "Quicken Financial Life" at the Macworld Expo in January 2008. It was far from complete, and was slated for a fall 2008 release; it had the original underpinnings of today's Quicken Mac (including putting everything in one window, accounts in a left sidebar, a calendar view, and tags). The short-lived Quicken Online also debuted at this time. Intuit missed the fall 2008 release of the new Mac program, and stated it would ship in summer 2009. It didn't. In fact, Quicken Financial Life never made it out of beta testing. In July 2009, Intuit announced it "went back to the drawing board" based on beta user feedback, and would release the new Mac product in early 2010. That's not a "user perspective" of Intuit dropping the ball; they flat out dropped the ball.

    In September 2009, Intuit surprised the market by purchasing two year-old competitor Mint, and Intuit put Mint founder and CEO Andrew Patzer in charge of the personal finance division responsible for Quicken. Patzer killed Quicken Online in favor of Mint, and finally in February 2010 released the next-generation Mac product with a new name, Quicken Essentials for Mac. The "Essentials" name was because it didn't do a lot of things the older Quicken 2007 did: it didn't track investment transactions, didn't allow online bill payments, didn't export to TurboTax, didn't schedule repeating transactions, didn't allow customized reports, didn't do budgets, didn't print checks…

    Patzer said that when he came to Quicken, he felt it would be better to ship something to users rather than spending another year in software development. So in releasing in Quicken Essentials in early 2010, he promised that a full-featured Quicken Deluxe would follow in 2011. If it had played out that way, things might have gotten back on track — but that didn't happen. For one thing, Intuit decided to sell this feature-starved product for $10 more than Quicken Windows. That was a management error: instead of going for short-term cash flow, they should have taken the long view and priced it less expensively until they had a new, more feature-complete product. Under-powered and overpriced, drawing sharp criticism from many longtime Quicken Mac users and getting terrible reviews, Essentials not-surprisingly didn't sell well. Intuit cut the price by $20 after a few months, and updates later that year brought a few additional features, like check printing, configurable columns in registers, and exporting to TurboTax — but the damage had been done. Many longtime Quicken Mac users decided to wait for the promised full-feature Quicken Mac in 2011.

    And then things got worse. 🤣

    After driving changes in Quicken 2011 for Windows, Patzer didn't mesh with the Intuit corporate culture and drifted away, leaving a void in management of the Quicken teams. I've never read an accounting of what exactly happened in 2011, but the promised Quicken Deluxe for Mac was never developed and released; development ground to a halt, and the Mac development team was mostly dismantled. That's management dropping the ball again. In late 2011, Intuit backtracked and announced it would soon have a way to run 6 year-old Quicken 2007 on the then-current Mac Lion operating system. That update, with some secretly-licensed technology which allowed the old Quicken Mac to run on the modern macOS of the day, came out in March 2012. It was a Hail Mary which undoubtedly saved Quicken for Mac, because it allowed many longtime Quicken Mac users to stick with Quicken 2007 for several more years. (A small number of people are still using it today by sticking with old versions of macOS.) But development of the next-generation Quicken Mac was completely stalled.

    At the end of 2011, Marcus Aiu, a longtime Microsoft product manager for the Mac Powerpoint program, joined Intuit to head a team developing a mobile companion app for Mint. That app, Mint QuickView, was completed within 6 months and won an award from Apple as one of the best apps of 2012. While he and his team then worked to transform the Mint app into what is today's Quicken mobile app within a year, he was also put in charge of reviving the stalled Quicken Mac project. The goal was to build on and modernize the Quicken Essentials code base into the long-desired full-fledged version of Quicken Mac. He started with just one other programmer, and over time added two more. This small team re-wrote chunks of the Essentials code to be compatible with changes in the Mac operating system, then added investment tracking, the mobile companion app and other features. The new Quicken Mac 2015 program was released in late summer 2014. It was still missing many features compared to Quicken 2007 and Quicken Windows, but it was a solid step forward for users who had purchased Quicken Essentials over the prior four years, and it was a major step towards having a viable replacement for Quicken 2007.

    Marcus worked with Intuit management to allow a new approach of releasing continuous enhancements throughout the year, which required complex legal changes to the company's accounting procedures. (That laid the groundwork for the current-day subscription service, replacing one big annual upgrade with small upgrade through the year.) He surprisingly left Intuit in September 2014 to take over development of Evernote, one of his long-time favorite applications. Fortunately for Quicken Mac users, he came back. After Intuit announced in August 2015 that it would sell off Quicken, and Marcus rejoined the company just as it was becoming independent of Intuit early in 2016. For the ensuing six years, he served as principal product manager for Quicken Mac, leading the development of the program as it added dozens of new features and hundreds of bug fixes, and as the now-independent Quicken, Inc. added more people to the tiny Mac development team.

    So yes, I'm going to stick with my original statement that Intuit management dropped the ball and bungled development of Quicken Mac several times in the period from 2007 through 2013. 😀 Fortunately for us, the designers and programmers who created the original concepts for Quicken Financial Life, morphed them into Quicken Essentials, developed them into Quicken Mac, and enhanced them over a decade of releases should get a lot of credit for developing a strong architecture and design, parts of which are now, surprisingly almost 20 years old.

    That's more detail than anyone likely wanted, but there you have it!

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
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    That is more than I knew about it and does explain a lot, and I agree Intuit drop the ball, but in in fact that sort of plays into one of the points I was trying to make. Quicken Mac was more of a pain in the side to Intuit than a potential profit, and as such it was never going to get much from Intuit. In the end even Quicken Windows was just a drop in the bucket to them, and more of a pain that they just wanted to go away, and that is why they sold it.

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