Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) is a public developer of small business accounting applications headquartered in Mountain View, CA. Founded in1983 by Scott Cook and Tom Proulx, Intuit grew rapidly in the mid to late 1980s with an initial public offering in 1993. Intuit revenues were $4.2 billion in 2015 making them one of the largest business software publishers in the world.
Intuit’s first product was Quicken which was a popular accounting application for small businesses in the 1980s until Intuit introduced QuickBooks in 1992. Quicken is sold to this day as a personal finance management application with QuickBooks targeted to the business community. Other major products in Intuit’s portfolio include TurboTax personal tax preparation software, and Mint for personal finance and banking software.
Quicken 8 for DOS circa 1995. Image from Wikimedia.org.
Intuit grew through a mix of organic growth fueled by its core Quicken and QuickBooks products and many strategic acquisitions highlighted by TurboTax in 1993, Lacerte (professional accounting software for CPAs) in 1998, Mint.com in 2009, and a variety of products and services businesses targeted at the small and home office business market including payment payroll, business incorporation, small business loans, payment processing, ecommerce, and more.
Most Intuit products are sold predominently in the North American market but some like QuickBooks are available in targeted, English-speaking international markets such as the UK, Australia, and South Africa.
Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting product is available in a range of editions from QuickBooks Self-Employed to QuickBooks Enterprise. Other products in between are Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus (for hosted QuickBooks Online). Traditional Desktop Editions are QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier, and QuickBooks Enterprise as well as QuickBooks Mac Desktop (one of the few accounting applications available for the Mac OS).
Microsoft tried unsuccessfully to acquire Intuit in the early 1990s despite Intuit’s willingness and interest in the acquisition leaving Intuit on it’s own as the largest developer of personal finance and entry-level accounting software. By many accounts, Intuit is estimated to own 80 to 90% of the small business accounting market (some estimates push that number even higher).
Intuit tried unsuccessfully to go up-market in the late 1990s and early 2000s having acquired much larger business applications for four vertical markets – Eclipse which is now Epicor Eclipse (distribution), FundWare sold to Kintera which has subsequently acquired by BlackBaud (non-profit), MasterBuilder which is now Sage 100 Contractor (construction), and MRI Software which was purchased by a private-equity firm and is continues to be sold as an independent product (property management).
Intuit has also divested other businesses through the years including Quicken Loans and Quickbase, an online database and application development platform.
Intuit is focused on software as a service (SaaS) hosted applications as the future of the company moving away from it’s historically strong desktop applications.