You don’t often hear a tech exec responsible for a product say that he hates anything about it, but Intuit’s Aaron Patzer is a special case–his dislike of Quicken spurred him to found the excellent online finance site Mint. When Intuit bought Mint last year, Patzer ended being responsible for both Mint and Quicken. The new version of Quicken, Quicken 2011, is the first one to reflect his influence, and it certainly shows the influence of the more modern Mint.
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TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington is reporting that personal-finance behemoth Intuit is about to buy Mint, the nifty financial site that has provided stiff competition (as well as inspiration) for Intuit’s Quicken Online. The timing of the report is intriguing: We’re hours away from the start of Arrington’s TechCrunch50 conference, at which Mint deservedly won best of show in the conference’s inaugural edition two years ago.
If the story’s true, it makes sense: Intuit has been scrambling to play catch-up with Mint. The current version of Quicken Online is less rich than the Quicken application, and more focused on folks who want to make sure they have enough money to get through the month, not those thinking about the long haul. But you gotta think that Intuit wants its Web-based tools to be at least as rich and popular as its traditional ones, and that it knows it can’t wait very long to get there. Owning Mint would bring both some cool features and a lot of customers to Intuit.
Would Intuit kill the current Quicken Online and redub Mint with that name? Keep the two services but use the same underlying technology? Use Mint as the primary brand for online personal finance? I have no idea, but it’ll be fun to watch if the deal does go down.
Speaking of TechCrunch50, I’ll be spending much of the next two days at the conference. Stay tuned for live reports on the most interesting stuff that debuts there…