Long-time Mac users who manage their personal finances on their computers have something to fear with the release of Lion right around the corner: Quicken For Mac 2007 (and earlier) will not function on Lion as it stands right now. This is because these versions of Quicken are still running PowerPC code, while Rosetta, Apple’s transparent translation engine that allows PowerPC code to run on Intel Macs, is reportedly NOT going to be included with Mac OS 10.7.
TMO took the time today to chat with Aaron Patzer, VP/GM of Intuit’s Personal Finance Group, today about this. The executive came to Intuit at the end of 2009 when it acquired Mint.com, a company founded by Mr. Patzer.
A Blast From The Past
Mr. Patzer explained that the PowerPC codebase for Quicken For Mac 2007 was started decades ago and has many intricacies — including its own custom-built database engine — that are very much PowerPC specific. Simply porting this code over to Intel is not possible and would require a significant amount of work. So much so that Intuit decided to focus those resources on developing an entirely new application, Quicken Essentials for Mac.
Unfortunately, Quicken Essentials’ initial release left a lot of Mac users wanting more — or less, as the case may be — and many folks simply remained with Quicken Mac 2007 despite its older codebase.
For those users, though, Quicken Essentials is still an option. It does run under Lion, will import all your old Quicken data, and may suffice. Note that it is missing two potentially critical functions: bill pay and detailed investment tracking (including its inability to track stock lots and other tax-specific activity).
Mr. Patzer’s original product, Mint.com, is also an option. It’s online, it’s free, and many people are quite enamored with the service. The unfortunate drawback is that it will not currently import data from Quicken, though Mr. Patzer says that’s likely coming in the next six-to-nine months.
Quicken 2007 On Lion?
Some might ask, “why not just get Apple to let us run Rosetta in Lion?” Apple likely has its own answers to this question, but the good news is that Intuit is working closely with Apple to possibly do just this. The project has been underway for the past few months, with Intuit working to possibly embed specific Rosetta libraries into Quicken For Mac 2007 to get it to run. This, too, is not a simple project and may never come to fruition. Mr. Patzer indicated we would all know that answer by the end of this summer.
What to do?
If you’re the type of user who will want to upgrade to Lion on day one — and, let’s face it, aren’t we all? — then you’ll need to either jump to Quicken Essentials (or iBank, which we gave a 5/5 rating, or Moneydance, which received 4/5), or possibly move to the Windows version of Quicken under Parallels, VMWare Fusion, or even CrossOver (the last of which does not require you to run or manage a Windows installation).
Intuit and The Apple Ecosystem
In talking to Mr. Patzer today it’s clear that he has a passion for the Mac and other Apple (i.e. iOS) products. He’s a Mac user himself, and clearly there is a team at Intuit developing for our favorite platforms. Indeed, even an iPad app for Mint.com is being worked on, and we’ll hopefully see it released in the next few months. While Intuit definitely has stumbled before, this reporter isn’t counting them out of this particular race.