In response to Year 2000 issues with online banking features, Intuit has begun offering free upgrades to the Macintosh version of Quicken Deluxe 98 on CD-ROM to owners of any previous Macintosh version of Quicken, ranging from version 7 all the way back to version 1. (Intuit is making a similar offer to owners of Quicken for Windows or DOS.) See "Quicken 98: Evolution at Work" in TidBITS-426 for a review of Quicken 98; "Parsing Like It's 1999" in TidBITS-475 discusses Y2K problems and the Mac.
Intuit's move is surprising, particularly for a company with a history of offering minimalist annual product upgrades, releasing and withdrawing maintenance releases, and abandoning Macintosh products (including, briefly, Quicken for the Macintosh). The only known Y2K issues with Quicken for the Macintosh involve its online banking features, which have been available in the Macintosh version only since Quicken 6. Moreover, few Macintosh Quicken users rely on the online banking features, since less than 10 percent of the financial institutions supporting online banking with Quicken offer such support for Mac versions of Quicken.
Although there are currently no known Y2K issues with any version of Quicken aside from online banking features, Intuit is not testing older versions of Quicken for Y2K problems, except for the online banking features in Quicken 6 and 7. Therefore, Intuit's offer of Quicken 98 Deluxe to all legitimate owners of previous versions of Quicken may be an effort to stave off customer complaints, as well as to offset any legal impact of heretofore unknown Y2K problems. It's also possible that the move was prompted by Intuit's online banking partners, no doubt looking to limit their own Y2K exposure.
Should you take advantage of Intuit's new policy if you already own Quicken? First, if you own Quicken 98 and use online banking, make sure you're using Release 5 or higher, which enables online banking functionality beyond 05-Sep-99. (You can determine what release you're running by selecting About Quicken from the Apple menu, then pressing R.) If you use a previous version of Quicken but don't use online banking features, I'd look carefully at reviews of Quicken 98 and see if the product is worthwhile. Many Quicken customers have been underwhelmed by the number of compelling new features in recent updates, and some have experienced trouble converting their data to newer versions. Finally, be sure your Macintosh can run Quicken 98 Deluxe: it requires Macintosh with a 68030 processor or better, a CD-ROM drive, 45 MB of hard disk space, a 640 by 480 display capable of displaying 256 colors, and at least System 7.1. If you think Quicken Deluxe 98 is for you, go to Intuit's Y2K pages for the Mac version of Quicken, select your version, and follow the link outlining your options.