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In shift, BofA to stymie Mac users online

Bank of America customers who use Quicken for Macintosh will lose access to some features starting next week. However, if you're on Windows, it's business as usual.

Apple Computer touts the ease of using its Macintosh systems, but beginning Monday Mac users will find it harder to conduct electronic transactions with Bank of America, one of the largest U.S. consumer banks.

People who use Intuit's Quicken for Macintosh will no longer be able to use the program's "direct connect" feature to download account information to Quicken or make online payments. PCs running on Microsoft's Windows operating systems, however, will continue to have full access through their Quicken software to Bank of America accounts.

But the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank is not abandoning Mac users completely; they will still be able to download account information to Quicken with a more cumbersome process through Bank of America's Web site.

While Bank of America's decision does not sound the death knell for Apple's Macintosh systems, it does underscore the seemingly eternal struggle facing the computer maker that prides itself on its "Think Different" motto. Apple has little fear of losing its core group of devoted fans but has had trouble expanding its market share because of a persistent image that not all software and services tailored for Windows systems are available for Macs.

For the past few weeks, Intuit has led a campaign to gather comments from Mac users to apply pressure to Bank of America so it "knows how much our customers value direct connectivity with Quicken," according to a message posted on Intuit's Web site.