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Quicken for Mac after all

Intuit will make a new Macintosh version of its financial software after saying just last month that it was halting development.

Intuit said it will make a new version of Quicken for Macintosh available in 1999, after saying just last month that it was halting development of the popular financial planning software.

Intuit recommitted to support and development of its Quicken products for Macintosh "after being disclosed on Apple's upcoming consumer products and strategies," the company said.

Although Apple and Intuit did not comment on what those products might be, Apple is reportedly working on an all-in-one computer that will sell for around $1,000. Apple's re-entry into the consumer market by the fourth quarter of this year may hold the promise of enough sales to make another version of Quicken a financial win for Intuit.

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After the initial Intuit decision, acting chief executive Steve Jobs said at an Apple shareholder meeting that Apple "stumbled" by not getting "in Intuit's face" enough to prevent an important developer from dropping its Mac software product. Apple's misstep was particularly embarrassing because William Campbell, Intuit's CEO and president, is an Apple board member.

"[Last year] we decided that the fall version would not be released. Come April, we had to announce to our plans to customers and financial institutions, and at the same time, we were just beginning to get briefed on Apple's plans [for the consumer market]," explained Mark Goines, senior vice president of Intuit's consumer division. "Only in the last couple of weeks have they confirmed what they were doing."

Goines said that the company reevaluates products after each introduction and that decisions about producing a version of Quicken beyond 1999 will be made at that time.

Whatever the future holds for the software on the Mac platform, "It's very clear that the Internet will be a big part of what we deliver to users of all computers," Goins said.

The two companies also said they will explore the development of new Web-based personal finance applications for Macintosh users, a project which may be tied to a set-top "media player" sources say Apple is developing.

Intuit has lately been focusing more on Web-based applications that are not tied to any single kind of computer. Along these lines, Intuit is involved in deals to develop Internet software for next-generation digital set-top boxes with cable giant Tele-Communications Incorporated.