Intuit Apologies and Incompetence – A Turnaround?

Filed in Intuit QuickBooks by on July 19, 2010

I was very happy to see Michelle L. Long, CPA  post this July 16 letter from Brad Smith, Intuit CEO ( The letter says exactly what it should. I dearly wish, for Brad’s sake and for the sake of millions of Intuit users, that this type of communication began long ago, on these and other matters, before disasters and upset users made it necessary to write like this.

You do not invest $300 million in two remote data facilities overnight. If we had a tiny hint that they were coming, we would have known that our recent program outage problems were probably temporary. That would not have made the inconvenience any less, but knowing that a solution was already on the way would have made many of us feel much better about our near total dependence on Intuit.


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Dear Customers,

I wanted to reach out to you again after our outage on July 14 that disrupted your online products and services. It is an understatement to say that this outage is not acceptable. It happened after a San Diego power failure blacked out an area that included our data center. We experienced problems after switching over to backup power, which caused a number of online services to be unavailable for several hours.

I’ve heard your concerns, and I understand your frustration and disappointment. You depend on us to help you run your businesses and manage your finances. We know we’re not where you expect us to be, nor where we need to be.

Our Online Transition

Intuit built its reputation by inventing and delivering software products that revolutionized the way people and businesses manage their money. Over the past few years, more and more customers desire online connectivity, giving them access to our products and services anywhere, at any time. We have been transforming the way we deliver our services to meet these needs in an online world: the way we build our products, the way we offer them, and the way we host and support our customers.

While we still offer easy-to-use, shrink-wrapped software, it’s increasingly available in online versions. In fact, we currently generate 60 percent of our revenue from our online, software-as-a-service offerings.

Our goal is to be a world-class provider of highly available online services. But as events of the past month have shown, we still have work to do. We are on a continuous journey to re-architect our products, modernize our technology to host them, and build or lease state-of-the-art data centers to house our online services.

What We’re Doing

That effort is already underway:

• Many of our new online products are architected and designed with 24/7, high-availability and disaster recovery in mind.
• We’ve already invested more than $300 million in new facilities, including two state-of-the-art data centers in Quincy, Wash. and Las Vegas.
• We are aggressively migrating our existing applications to these data centers.
• While in this migration, we are strengthening our infrastructure and constantly evaluating all our internal practices to ensure that we get it right whenever we perform critical maintenance or repair procedures.

Succeeding in an Online World

Our future depends on meeting your needs in an online world. We’ve seen where we’re not meeting the standard that you – nor we – expect, and have already made many corrections. But we’re not stopping. Our mindset is we’ll never be done. Because of that, we’ll get better. That’s how we’ll earn your trust and support. And I hope you’ll continue to let us know how we’re doing.


Brad Smith
CEO, Intuit Inc.

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I wish the very best of luck to you Brad, and to everyone at Intuit. I know Intuit has given its customers terrific value and innovative products for a very long time. I dearly wish there were not a few other really critical issues, like this, which badly upset many of your biggest supporters.


Mike Block CPA

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