Microsoft news: Microsoft releases 'sunset edition' of Money

Microsoft Money may be headed off into the sunset, but Redmond has one last version to offer those who are still using the personal finance product. The so-called "sunset edition" of Microsoft Money was released earlier this month. Although it has fewer features - stripping out all of the online capabilities - this new version of Microsoft Money doesn't require activation, meaning that users who need to install it on a new PC or who lose their product code won't be stuck without their data.

"The Microsoft Money Plus Sunset versions are replacements for expired versions of Microsoft Money Essentials, Deluxe, Premium, and Home and Business," Microsoft said in a statement. "They allow existing customers to use MoneyPlus to continue accessing their data." The challenge is that the product required online activation on each machine running Money, even once online services are discontinued. Sales of Microsoft Money ended last year and support was planned only to January 2011.

"Now that Money Plus is no longer available for purchase, the online activation step will eventually become unnecessary and unsupported," Microsoft said on the download page. "This Money Plus Sunset package is targeted at removing the activation dependency." Microsoft stopped selling Money at retail stores in 2008, but continued selling it online until last year, when it announced plans to discontinue the software.

There are actually two versions of the Sunset edition - one for those running Money Premium, Deluxe, and Essentials and the other for those running Money Home and Business. While users that plan to keep using Money should eventually install Money Sunset, the company warns those still getting online updates should stick with the version they have until they no longer need - or no longer can get - those updates. That's because the Sunset version actually strips out the ability to get online quotes, online updates from banks or do online bill paying.

So far, Microsoft has done little to make people aware of the new version, other than posting it for download. However, the company said that will change. "We will be promoting the Microsoft Money Plus Sunset versions in the coming weeks and will encourage consumers currently using online services to retain their current version to take advantage of the online services until they expire," the company said in a statement to CNET. "For users already without online services, we will encourage them to move over to the new versions now."

Microsoft Money's swansong with the release of Microsoft Money Plus Sunset

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