Justice Department Blocks Microsoft Purchase of Intuit

April 27, 1995

The US Justice Department sues Microsoft to block its acquisition of Intuit, Inc. In October of 1994 Microsoft and Intuit had agreed to a $1.5 billion stock swap where Microsoft would acquire the maker of the popular Quicken personal finance software. It would have been the largest software company merger in history at the time. Quicken had approximately 75% of the personal money-management software market. Microsoft’s Money software only had about 5-10% percent. Microsoft had intended to sell Money to rival Novell in order to avoid anti-trust accusations, given that Microsoft had only recently settled a 4-year government investigation into harmful business practices. However the Justice Department was not satisfied with this arrangement and claimed that the combined Microsoft and Intuit would hold too much power over the personal finance market. While initially Microsoft and Intuit remained committed to the deal and vowed to fight in court, less than a month later Microsoft announced it was walking away from the merger.

It is interesting to consider what may have happened if Microsoft had bought out Intuit. Certainly Microsoft would have been a significantly stronger company in the short term. Clearly Intuit’s Quicken and Quickbooks combo of software became the de facto standard for finance software for many years and it would have in theory only become more entrenched had it been under the umbrella of Microsoft. As it stands, Microsoft eventually discontinued Money in 2009.