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Microsoft, Visa ink home banking deal

Microsoft, continuing its torrid pace of acquisitions and alliances, has struck a deal with Visa International, whereby the two will offer a complete home banking service.

Microsoft, continuing its torrid pace of acquisitions and alliances, has struck a deal with Visa International, whereby the two will offer a complete home banking service.

The banking service will be based on the Microsoft Money financial software and Visa's financial processing systems. The joint venture will pit the duo against Intuit and its industry leading financial package, Quicken. This also means that Microsoft and Intuit, the one-time partners-to-be, will now duke it out in the home banking arena. Microsoft abandoned its multimillion-dollar bid for Intuit last year because of a Department of Justice inquiry.

The Visa deal also breathes new life into the moribund Money software, which has played second fiddle to Intuit's Quicken and which some critics had given up for dead once the Intuit/Microsoft talks collapsed. But like it has done with so many of its slow-out-of-the-gates products, Microsoft once again has proven that it's a dogged competitor with the ability and the financial wherewithal to stick with a product over the long haul.

Still, despite its enormous potential, home banking remains a niche business as consumer confidence in the system still lags the hype.