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Microsoft mints new Money

Microsoft will today roll out its latest personal finance management package, Money 98.

    Microsoft (MSFT) will today roll out its latest personal finance management package, Money 98.

    With Money 98, the company has tried to meet most needs of the personal financier by integrating the basic money management features provided in Money with further integration via the Internet, said product managers.

    Both Money 98 and Money 98 Financial Suite, an extended package, feature Goal Planner, which allows users to make sure their daily financial activities support a financial plan that helps them manage unexpected events and meet financial goals.

    Both can be integrated with Microsoft Investor, a Web service provided by Microsoft, which features six new investment views--Holdings, Performance, Quotes, Fundamentals, Positions, and Investment allocation. A free six-month subscription to additional premium Investor features is also available.

    Another new feature, Advisor FYI, delivers personalized guidance for making financial decisions. It helps users prioritize transactions, follow their budget, simplify complex decisions, avoid financial mistakes, and recognize opportunities.

    Financial Suite adds client-access software for connecting to the Microsoft Network (MSN). Users must subscribe to MSN to access the service. However, a one-month free, unlimited trial subscription is available to new members of MSN.

    The package also offers secure, reliable access to over 100 financial institutions, according to Microsoft.

    "Consumers' lives are becoming more and more complex," said Margie Miller, product manager of Microsoft's financial division. "Whether it's saving money for college, investing in 401K plans and mutual funds, or making rent or mortgage payments, people are trying to use their money more wisely, she said. "Investing is becoming more and more common practice," she added.

    Features like Goal Planner and Advisor FYI help users maintain their finances and make plans for the future, said Miller.

    Money 98 is priced at $29.95, with a $10 rebate for previous users of Microsoft Money, and Money 98 Financial Suite is priced at $54.95, with a $15 rebate for previous users. Both packages run on Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0 and need at least 12MB of memory on Windows 95 or 16MB for NT. Microsoft Explorer 3.02 is included, but users can maintain other browsers after installation, according to Microsoft.