1999 Technology Buyer's Guide: Get the Right Tool for the Job

If you bought Quicken in, say, 1996, why would you buy it again now? Sure, the old program still balances your checkbook. But will it research the price of your home on the Web? The latest version can.

That's the point. The key reference and utility programs continue to sell well for three reasons: the number of PC owners gets bigger every year; software companies are finding new ways to adapt their products to the Web; and they keep adding new bells and whistles while holding prices in check.

In fact, all the leading software packages are mature products. You won't...

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