Three months after finance software maker Intuit bought online finance startup Mint.com, Aaron Patzer, founder of Mint and now Intuit’s general manager of personal finance, is still giving a lot of thought to how Mint and Intuit fit together.
Right after Intuit bought his startup, Patzer told me that the online version of Intuit’s personal finance software Quicken would eventually become “powered by Mint.” (Prior to the acquisition, the two personal finance websites were competing.) A couple of months later, he said Quicken Online would be shut down while its customer data was migrated to an improved version of Mint that incorporates “the best of both” and was integrated with Intuit’s other personal finance software. And when I talked to Patzer earlier this month, he outlined a long-term vision that’s even more web-centric and Mint-y — not just for Quicken Online, but also for the more established, traditional version of Quicken.
“What I’d like to is combine them all into one codebase,” Patzer said.
In other words, there will no longer be a distinction between Mint the website and Quicken the software you install on your computer. Instead, there will be one website where all Intuit users manage their personal finances.
For more traditional customers who don’t want to go online every time they need to manage their finances, there will be an offline version, but it won’t take the form of boxed software — it will just be a desktop extension of the website built using technology like Microsoft Silverlight or Adobe AIR. So users can view their accounts while offline, then “anytime they want, they can flip it up to the cloud,” he said.
To be clear, Patzer wasn’t talking about Intuit’s product plans, just his thoughts on where things are going. I’m guessing there will be plenty of resistance to these ideas from within Intuit, and from longtime customers. On the other hand, it’s a vision that makes sense, especially as more people become more comfortable with storing this information online and as Intuit’s desktop products add online components like app stores.
More concretely, Patzer said Mint will be switching from Yodlee to Intuit technology to handle its bank transactions, and it’ll be adding support for many more banks. The Mint iPhone app will add Quicken Online’s ability to find nearby ATMs and track cash transactions. And while Patzer is currently splitting his time between the Mint and Intuit offices, the two campuses will merge at the end of January, he said.