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Quicken pilots hosted personal finance, dips toe in subscription waters

Quicken pilots hosted personal finance, dips toe in subscription waters

Asks for volunteers to test Hosted Quicken for Windows, where the application is run remotely from a data center using a browser

Quicken last week started soliciting testers for a cloud-hosted edition of its namesake personal finance software.

The newly-independent company -- sold to private equity firm H.I.G. Capital last month -- asked for volunteers to try out Hosted Quicken for Windows (HQW).

HQW will kick off this month and run for a year, Quicken said.

The hosted Quicken will not be a true cloud application. Instead, it will rely on Quicken 2016 for Windows running on servers at a data center maintained by Hudson, N.H.-based Right Networks, which currently hosts Intuit's QuickBooks and Microsoft's Office. (Before its sale to H.I.G., Quicken was part of Intuit.)

Users will access HQW via a browser or a remote desktop application like Microsoft's Remote Desktop for OS X and iOS. Supported browsers include Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome and Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE).

"Our Hosted Quicken application will give you and anyone else you chose to authorize, access to your Quicken without the hassle of having to share files, update the program, install patches on your computer, or backup your files," a Quicken representative wrote in the announcement.

The hosted Quicken application, as well as users' data files, will be safeguarded by end-to-end encryption, firewalls, several layers of access controls, and encrypted backups. Users' data will be backed up nightly, and retained for 90 days.

Customers were asked to commit to running HQW for a year, and to provide feedback on and suggest new features.

Like cloud-based services, the software hosted on Right Networks' servers will be maintained by Quicken, not individual users. "We will maintain, upgrade and install patches for your Quicken and for the hosted Windows server so that you don't have to spend any time worrying about that," Quicken said. That would be especially good news to those Quicken users who have run into show-stopping bugs after updating their locally-stored copies of the application.

Not surprisingly -- HQW being a pilot program at this stage -- Quicken did not spell out pricing. But fees would almost certainly be on a subscription basis if or when it goes live.

Right Networks currently sells a $50 per-month-per-user plan that lets QuickBooks customers access a hosted version of that small business accounting program. Intuit charges an additional $5 per month for remote access, even to those who already have a QuickBooks license.

Intuit charges between $13 and $40 per month for its own QuickBooks Online, a cloud subscription service that's accessed through a browser. A QuickBooks desktop license costs between $300 and $500, with additional fees for add-ons like payroll.

Subscription costs for HQW would almost certainly be significantly less; Quicken for Windows ranges from $40 to $170 for a license, with the most popular version -- Quicken Deluxe -- running $75.

Quicken users can request an invite to the HQW pilot program by leaving a comment on the announcement here.

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