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Quicken Essentials users can switch with iBank update

Mac users who've felt locked into the much-maligned Quicken Essentials now have another alternative: On Tuesday, developer IGG Software announced that the latest update to its Mac-only app iBank app can import documents from Intuit's software.

It's a popular request, according to IGG. "For nearly three years, Quicken Essentials for Mac has frustrated anyone hoping to switch to iBank 4," IGG President Ian Gillespie said in the company's announcement, "particularly because of its inability to export customers' personal finance data to a standard format."

While Quicken Essentials does allow users to export their data into a comma-separated values file (CSV), the results can be less than useful when it comes to importing that data into another application. Otherwise, the program exports only into Quicken's own QXF format, which is used for moving files between different versions of Quicken.

Intuit has gotten a lot of flak over the years for its poor support for the Mac platform. Since Apple removed Rosetta--the part of the OS that enabled you to run PowerPC apps--in Lion, the older version of Quicken no longer worked with current releases of Mac OS X. Quicken Essentials was the company's attempt to release an updated version of the software, but it met with much criticism over its reduced feature set.

Intuit has tried to make amends in subsequent versions, dropping the price significantly and adding features. However, those updates have still left users wanting, and--more importantly--left them with little recourse should they wish to depart Quicken Essentials for another application. iBank 4.7 seems to finally offer that alternative for Mac users.

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