Microsoft Unveils Simplified Approach to Financial Management And Helps People Make Sense of Their Money

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 21, 2004 — Marking the largest development effort for Microsoft®
Money since the personal finance software was launched 13 years ago, Microsoft Corp. today announced Microsoft Money 2005 Premium, Deluxe, Standard and Small Business. Completely rebuilt to simplify daily financial tasks, Money 2005 is designed to answer the growing number of consumer requests for a simple solution that addresses the three primary areas of financial concern: tracking account balances, monitoring spending and paying bills.

Consumers today have less time than ever to spend managing their finances, which has contributed to the number of American households banking online — due to its convenience and efficiency — reaching nearly 33 million. 1 Money 2005 builds on this trend by helping people access all their accounts in one place and providing automated tools that reduce or eliminate the manual entry required by traditional personal finance software.

With Money 2005, account balances and transactions are at people’s fingertips, so they can easily download financial information from banks, brokerages and credit card companies nationwide. As the average American holds more than seven credit cards (averaging 2.7 bank cards, 3.8 retail cards and 1.1 debit cards), 2 this powerful connectivity makes it possible for consumers to view all their account information for a more complete financial picture.

“The words ‘financial management’ can strike fear into the hearts of many people who won’t stick with a system if it requires a lot of time, sweat and frustration,” said M.P. Dunleavey, Microsoft Money expert and award-winning columnist for CNBC on MSN®
Money. “They need a solution that is quick, easy and doesn’t involve a lot of ongoing maintenance. Software products such as Money 2005 do so much of the work for you, it couldn’t be simpler to create — and stick with — a financial system.”

Because everyone approaches financial tasks differently, Money 2005 is flexible, allowing consumers to view top-level basics or drill down into the finer details of their finances:

  • The new Essential Register provides automatically up-to-date statements and balances for consumers seeking a basic view of accounts, while the Advanced Register offers more customization for consumers looking to manage their checkbook electronically.

  • An Essential Budget allows consumers to see how their monthly spending compares with their allotted budget, while the Advanced Budget enables consumers to create multiple budgets, track irregular or one-time expenses, and reallocate specific funds.

  • Focused on spending and budgeting, Essential Reports provides important charts up front for an overview or text-only analyses of spending, debt and overall net worth.

Money’s automated tools make it effortless for consumers to quickly assess their spending habits and identify financial trouble spots so they can get back on track:

  • Spending by Category automatically generates a pie chart of expense categories over various time frames, including percentage breakouts and dollar amounts, to help consumers improve cash flow and get a grip on debt.

  • The new Spending Average shows a monthly dollar average per category, helping consumers build awareness of spending habits to create a realistic budget.

  • Favorite Categories identifies major trouble spots for overspending, and then tracks their daily status and issues alerts when overspending occurs to help consumers get back on budget.

“Through our extensive research, we’ve found that people value the speed and convenience of banking online, but still lack the broader understanding of their overall financial situation,” said AnnMarie Coe, marketing manager for the Home and Retail Division at Microsoft. “Our goal with Money 2005 was tying these pieces together — pairing consumers’ account data with our automated tools to deliver quick, more-complete answers about where their money is going.”

For convenient access to finances on the go, consumers can visit the MSN Money Web site to view account balances and investment holdings, pay bills, and keep an eye on their spending. Through its tight integration with MSN Money, Money 2005 offers the latest news and expert commentary for timely perspectives on relevant financial issues:

  • Money 2005 and MSN Money now share the same award-winning Portfolio Manager , giving consumers unlimited access to investments while they are traveling or at the office. Money users also can directly download account information from brokerages nationwide.

  • The MSN Money News area features headlines from MSN Money, including articles from CNBC, MSNBC, and as well as relevant commentary from MSN Money’s experts on topics such as investing, spending and taxes.

  • Consulting the more than 40 MSN Money Decision Centers , consumers will find useful tools, calculators and expert commentary relevant to a specific financial task, such as buying a home, paying down debt or preparing for retirement.

  • The new MSN Stock List allows consumers to set up investment holdings and view them across MSN as well as on mobile devices.

  • With shared access, the primary Money user now can allow other people such as a spouse or child to access the same Microsoft Money file from different locations or at different times without sharing passwords.

Pricing and Availability

For the first time, consumers can purchase and download a licensed copy of Money online at . Microsoft Money 2005 Standard is available at an estimated retail price of $29.95 (U.S.) with a $10 rebate; Money 2005 Deluxe is available for an estimated retail price of $59.95 (U.S.) with a $20 rebate; Money 2005 Premium is available at an estimated retail price of $79.95 (U.S.) with a $30 rebate; and Money 2005 Small Business is available at an estimated retail price of $89.95 (U.S.) with a $30 rebate. To acquire Money 2005, consumers can visit or a local retailer, or call (888) 218-5617.

About the Microsoft Home Retail Division

Microsoft Home Retail Division (HRD) is a leading publisher of home software for the PC. Celebrating Microsoft’s 20 years of delivering products that help consumers accomplish and enjoy everyday tasks, HRD brings consumers Microsoft Encarta®
, the industry’s best-selling encyclopedia brand; 4 Microsoft Digital Image products, which combine advanced photo-editing features and unmatched organizational tools with unparalleled ease of use; Microsoft Money, easy-to-use personal finance management software; Streets & Trips, Microsoft’s all-in-one mapping solution with points of interest, routes, driving directions and Pocket PC compatibility in one value-priced software package; and Microsoft Works Suite, the best-selling 5 integrated home productivity software that offers six of the latest essential home software titles in one package for tremendous value. Used with the MSN network of Internet services, these products have a unique depth and mobility that allow consumers to take their PC experience even further. More information about the Home Retail Division product lineup is available at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

1 Online Banking Report, April 2004

2 Inc.®
, November 2003

3 Actual retail prices and rebates vary. Certain mail-in rebate offer restrictions apply. See packaging for offer details.

4 The NPD Group/NPD Techworld®
, March 1993–July 2004. Based on total U.S. retail sales.

5 The NPD Group/NPD Techworld, March 1993–August 2004. Based on total U.S. retail sales.

Microsoft, MSN and Encarta are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at .

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