back to article Users accuse Intuit of 'heavy-handed' support changes on QuickBooks for Desktop

Intuit, purveyors of small business accounting software, has infuriated some customers after committing to turning off access to on-prem licensed desktop software or ending support and upgrades by the month's end. The $12.7 billion revenue biz says customers who bought a perpetual license for its QuickBooks for Desktop will …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    With which bit of 'perpetual'

    are they having difficulty?

    1. abend0c4

      Re: With which bit of 'perpetual'

      The bit about their revenue being only $12.7 billion.

    2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: With which bit of 'perpetual'

      The bit where a user only pays once and can use the product forever. Intuit clearly considers ownership an outmoded concept. Except when it comes to owning its users - Intuit has them by the proverbials and damn well knows it.

  2. msknight

    Dale Carnegie would be proud.

    Author of, "How To Win Friends and Influence People."

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More Information Needed........

    Quote: "...a perpetual license for its QuickBooks for Desktop ..."

    The article isn't clear about a couple of things:

    (1) Is this a Windows licence?

    (2) "Desktop" in the name, so is this a single user licence?

    If the answer to both questions is "Yes", then perhaps the licence could just move straight over to a Linux/WINE installation? (Reason: no need to struggle with Windows futures!)

    After all, if the user is going to see "support, updates, fixes and online features end from June 30".......a Linux/WINE installation will be absolutely no different!

    [P.S. IANAL...Does "perpetual" have a different meaning when software companies use the word? I think we should be told!]

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: More Information Needed........

      It's not quite as dramatic as it sounds in the article. Intuit are being opaque to scare people into moving online.

      Read this for more detail:

    2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: More Information Needed........

      As AC notes, relying on WINE for software is folly. WINE should only be used for games, and in some cases transitioning to native (non Windows) software. If it works for your use case you should be *very* careful with upgrading versions.

      There's been a lot of work on WINE but it is still very game focused (because that's an area non Windows PC platforms are not good at) and more tied to hardware configurations than you would want.

      If the program you want to run is mass market and doesn't use obscure APIs you may well be lucky. If it's using Enterprise APIs or more vertical markets (and accountancy packages definitely fall into that definition) there may be whole classes of APIs missing.

      The WINE documentation for Arch Linux (and Arch's documentation in general) is pretty decent, and worth reading even if you're not running Arch, or are trying WINE on a non Linux platform.

      Take WINE's AppDB compatibility list with a large dollop of salt, too. Testers rarely do an A/B comparison, so the software may 'work' on WINE but be much smoother on Windows.

  4. bombastic bob Silver badge

    I'm still on 2007

    I still use QB 2007. Works fine, runs on Windows 7.

    Why update it?

    Subscription licensing is yet ANOTHER reason NOT to update!

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: I'm still on 2007

      I'm on 2016 but on the perpetual licence. I can see a 'licence refresh' of 31st May in the about. Not sure if this will stop working at the end of the month or not.

      If it does, I suppose I'll be forced to move. I'll go QB online on their special for 6 months which would take me over my year end.

      Then it will be anything other than QB!

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: I'm still on 2007

        Just in case anyone refers back to this, it's now 1st July. Intuit said that only up to 2015 would continue to work. I have perpetual licence of 2016. Licence refresh has worked and Quickbooks is still working and restarting.

        It did seem slow but I'm working over a VPN, so that may be to blame.

    2. yoganmahew

      Re: I'm still on 2007

      I'm still using Quicken98... I don't even have pants that old.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm still on 2007

        I was able to move my SO from a Quicken version quite old to the most recent (tho unsupported) standalone version using the sequential upgrading processes outlined in the Quicken help pages online. This was forced, because moving from an old old Windows version, to a QB version supported under the new Windows 10.

        It was about 3 steps, which I did inside a VirtualBox for safety, and because upgrades always roach something. Only, everything worked quite smoothly, even beautifully.

        Thus, I can see why people are so pissed at Intuit. The Quicken people used to know how to make things work, standalone. Nowadays, having moved online and lost the previous commitment (and staff), they're scheiß?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm still on 2007

          You had better luck then I did when I moved to a new PC. Was a PITA getting My Quicken 2017 to install as it wanted me to sign in. So it popped up a blank window to let me "sign in".

          Was able to Google the problem and eventually was able to get it working. But I forgot to write down the steps of how I fixed it. So later my new PC had a hardware problem that caused it to randomly power down and reboot. So I had to send it in to get fixed under warranty.

          Then while I was reloading everything I got back to the Quicken blank sign in window. Started Looking for the work around and then looked again at the partition sizes, which were different, but I realized the fixed PC had enough room for Macrium Reflect to restore the C: partition without messing up the new support partitions.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It's been S*t for decades

          Bolted on network layer, didn't prompt for or provide backups, database corruption, bolted on "multiuser" mode that didn't allow multiple users on the same data file and also caused data corruption. Slower than a legless turtle. Every small office used it when I started consulting, too many still do, and have the same 20 year old zip disk in the old gateway 2000 machine they bought to be y2k compliant back in 99, that probably has never been dusted and hasn't rebooted since the last power cut.

          I'll happily keep throwing that work to my mate, the one that used it to bill the companies billed for auditing date compliance of COBOL on AS400s back in the day. Sure he talks to pigeons and squirrels these days, but better him then me.

          Some jobs come at to terrible a price.

          1. Bebu Silver badge

            Slower than a legless turtle.

            Tortoise surely.

            "Sure he talks to pigeons and squirrels these days" fortunately we don't have the tree rats here but I don't look forward to ending my days conversing with the feathered vermin.

  5. Dimmer Bronze badge

    “ f the answer to both questions is "Yes", then perhaps the licence could just move straight over to a Linux/WINE installation?”

    It barely runs on windows.

    “ If it does, I suppose I'll be forced to move. I'll go QB online”

    Even CPAs will tell you to stay the hell away from online.

    “ After all, if the user is going to see "support, updates, fixes…..”

    We have enterprise diamond (also called desktop, just for confusion sake) with enterprise level support. There is no true support. You get someone that reads from a script. Intuit has gone to the dogbert service model. Make them regret ever calling so they won’t do it again.

    1. milliemoo83

      You need more upvotes for "Dogbert service model." Also more pints. -->

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This guys gets it.

      It might run on a VM. Running it on WINE would be the bravest kind of folly.

      Between their BS copy protection schemes over the years, the outdated coding frameworks it's tied to, and it's EOL status, I'd not roll the dice on it. It, as Dimmer states fairly, barely runs on windows.

      And consider briefly the people who will be using it and how important that will be you your ongoing financial (and physical) well-being.

      As an aside, if I was on a jury for a beancounter that murdered their IT department, if I found out they tried to make them use Intuit accounting software on Linux I'd tell the judge it was a justifiable homicide and vote to acquit.

  6. teebie

    "The move away from Desktop ensures customers stay compliant and can benefit from the updates available through QuickBooks Online"

    Shouldn't "compliant" be followed by what the customers have to stay compliant with? So it doesn't look like deliberate scaremongering.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: The move away from Desktop ensures customers stay compliant

      Being accountancy software, one of the most important compliance critera is that you have access to your data for the minimum period stipulated by HMRC, 6 years.


      (If features are culled from the new version, does this mean that certain data is no longer accessible?)

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: The move away from Desktop ensures customers stay compliant

        6 years from the deadline for the tax return the transaction needs to be reported in. So about 8 years for something at the beginning of a tax year.

        If you buy an asset that you later need to pay capital gains tax on, then you claim the cost price of the asset + the cost of any improvements against the sale proceeds, so you buy the asset, keep it for many years, sell it at a profit, declare and pay your capital gains tax, then keep everything related to it for 6 years after the tax return deadline.

        Rules on what you have to pay capital gains tax on, and what you can claim against it may be different in the future from what they are now at the time of spending the money, so just keep everything. Pdf scans of invoices and bank statements, plus ledger entries don't take that much space.

        I would suggest exporting the general/nominal ledger and transaction listing to Excel, keep scanned copies of paper documents, and pdf prints of stuff bought on line. That will be sufficient for HMRC.

  7. HarryBl

    I remember having a home version of Quickbooks in the UK in the dim and distant past. They did the same with that - just buggered off back to the US and screwed us UK folks over. I wouldn't touch them with a shitty stick.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What if we took up a collection?

      Because if you are offering to savage Intuit's management with a Poo Stick, you may have crowdfunding opportunities.

      (I jest, though not to spare them. Anyone who would be willing to is a prince among men, and doesn't deserve the trouble we'd all get in.)

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: What if we took up a collection?

        Just dont use quickbooks for tracking the donations

  8. Anonymous Coward

    It's hard to avoid the cloud

    A customer of ours had written their own ERP from scratch. They had customers using it too, not many but some. We migrated from Sage 50 (ie the sad text files bollocks thing) to it around 10 years ago. Never looked back.

    For starters, every member of my company can access it simultaneously without a Sage employee accusing our network of being wank! Whenever Sage 50 gets slow and doddery, the play book is your network is wrong and so is your AV and you know nothing about IT and probably perform unnatural acts involving ...

    However, it is very hard to get away from the usual suspects for your accounting but it is well worth it. It requires a lot of effort and that isn't for everyone.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: It's hard to avoid the cloud

      A customer of ours had written their own ERP from scratch.

      Could they be persuaded to open source it ?

  9. Grogan Silver badge

    I installed QuickBooks for my parents around 2001. My mother found that just awful, it was like she had to change the way she does business to suit that program.

    Then, an update to Internet Explorer came along and broke some of the features. That's what you get when you use unstable APIs (I'm sure Microsoft didn't tell them to use the IE back end in that manner, it would be way too fragile). The only remedy was to pay again, for another Quickbooks upgrade. I think I invented new ways of saying "Fuck that".

    We limped along with it like that (Mom just got along without using those data presentation features) until she ditched it entirely. It was more hindrance than help.

    So "Intuit" can shove their software "in to it" forever. I won't see anybody buy anything from them without admonishment.

  10. MJI Silver badge

    Any left?

    Some people are giving up Sage 50 due to forced web versions, QB is a dead duck anyway, a licence for the ability to write an import module was more expensive than just going to Sage WITH importer. They changed to line 50.

    Sage MMS/TAS still seems OK.

    Xero appears to be the new small one.

    1. Peter388

      Someone mentioned TAS !

      TAS Books still runs fine for me. First transaction was entered in 1992 - updated for Y2K - now running in Win7 VM with no problems. Old fashioned software - paid one off for the software (and got a printed manual !) then annual maintenance for upgrades until it was taken over by Sage (?). As a Chartered Accountant (retired) it does everything needed - even has a report writer allowing properly formatted I&E / Balance sheet, with each account summarised into the appropriate line. Looked around recently for an equivalent for a small business - key requirements no online / no subscription / ability to export all data if needed. Couldn't find anything - would really like to hear any suggestions.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Someone mentioned TAS !

        We export transations to accounts packages.

        Sage Line 50 OK - CSV

        Sage Sovereign OK but AFAIK none left - CSV

        Sage MMS TAS OK - CSV

        Xero OK - CSV

        QB gave up, buy something else.

        Favourite was Pegasus Opera, I can open their data up quite happily but the reverse yes no, no I do not want to wipe the system, system wiped. - 2 x DBFs

        There are a few other outliers.

  11. Binraider Silver badge

    I don't want to be an advert, but my better halfs accountancy business absolutely swears by Xero in small biz land.

    To the point that they will turn down work from companies that don't want to swap.

    1. MJI Silver badge


      We did too, but isn't it a Tesco cola?

  12. ComicalEngineer

    My previous company purchased a perpetual license. IIRC it's [still] running on a Windows Vista PC and has never been upgraded / updated.

    Intuiit then told us that it wasn't supported any more we would need to upgrade to a subscription based model to do our UK VAT digital submission required by UK HMRC (UK equivalent of Uncle Sam). We didn't upgrade and used a bolt on package to do the VAT.

    And yes, it forces you into a specific way of working, and it's also quite difficult to get into unless you get training, and Intuit have been trying to force everyone into a subscription model for several years.Current cost is £24/month for a small business working with suppliers - this is limited to 3 users. If you need stock control & income tax this goes up to £34/month, and the full on version s £70 per month (all plus UK VAT @20%). Stop paying and it stops working. Once in and you're locked in.

    There are some pretty good free Linix equivalents, although HMRC doesn't support Linux security so you can't upload your VAT, but ther are plenty of cheap add-ons that can do this for you.

    Another software supplier attempting to screw, sorry monetize more people for more money.

  13. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    VT Transact

    If you're after a cheap and cheerful on-premises accounts package that won't pull the rug from under you, and is MTD compliant, have a look at VT's offerings. Deals with multi-currency too. A lot of accountants still make positive noises about it, has a small footprint and it's easy to share data with, say your accountant. Audit trail management is not in the same league as Sage, say, but HMRC seem happy enough about it.

    Disclaimer: I don't use VT myself, but have occasionally encountered it at clients.

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