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Intuit Acquires Techstars Startup GoodApril Before Demo Day (allthingsd.com)
48 points by uptown on Aug 9, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 21 comments

I hate Intuit. They have a huge lobbying arm and are viciously against making taxes easier to file.

For more information see: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2013/04/auto...

And this acquisition is brilliant - they acqui-hire, kill competition early for a relatively low price, and get to maintain their cozy duopoly with H&R Block in the tax prep market.

It's quite obvious why though. Making taxes easier to file will cost them their entire business.

Regardless, it's a pretty sleazy way to do business. And I say we let these types of businesses die if given the chance. Practices like these divert resources (capital, time, manpower, etc.) which only serves to hinder both economic and technological progression. One might argue that some of the technologies that arise from these types of businesses count as advancement, but I would wager that if the same resources were used for creating things that truly simplify life (rather than keep them unnecessarily complicated) we would all be much better off by now. But of course, what's done is done; so to maximize our potential and our throughput in the future, we really need to do our best to prevent businesses from acting similarly.

I'm totally with you on that. The amount of resources wasted is immense, but what are you going to do? Prevent lobbying? Tough luck, where else do politicians get their campaign contributions from?

No really, the political system is broken in that respect, which is why companies like Intuit can pull off things like this.

It would be nice if they actually got the tax laws right on the overly complicated system they protect. Cost my Dad a bit of money on some of their errors.

I used a web app called SnapTax one year in Canada to do my taxes. It was easy and fast, ahead of its time for web UIs, and showed what much better technology can do in the space. Intuit bought them and killed the product. Their own product (needless to say?) is awful.

If all you want is to get acquired and you don't care about your product being killed, making usable tax prep software is probably a good way to go. Unless there are regulatory barriers, it doesn't seem particularly hard. You'd have to immerse yourself in tax details, though, plus not love what you were doing.

SnapTax was awesome—until it got acquired and killed.

Ever since then, I was really frustrated with the state of tax software in Canada. The fact that over 6 million people still do their taxes on paper, and that most people turn to expensive tax preparers for even the simplest of returns, drove us to build http://simpletax.ca. We're lucky in that we have a non-practicing tax lawyer on board.

There is so much good technology can do in this space.

Woohoo! Hadn't heard of you guys until today but excited to give SimpleTax a try. I've already filed 2012 taxes but I've added a link in my 2013 taxes folder and will give you a shot next year.

Pay what you want is an interesting (crazy?) choice...care to elaborate on why you went this route? Everyone is already used to paying for tax software so on the surface it would seem like a no brainer to charge a fee.

Awesome! Let us know what you think.

Are we crazy? Yes, but hopefully crazy enough to change the industry. We initially set out with the plan to charge a fee, but there is a long list of industry-specific reasons as to why we got a little more creative. Like any startup, we're experimenting with our business model.

Could we make more by charging a fee? Maybe. At the end of the day, we're happy building the best product we can and making it available to as many people as possible.

Any way to file returns for the previous years?

No, sorry. We started in 2012 and the CRA doesn't do retroactive certifications.

Smart move by Intuit...acqui-hire and kill some competition early for a lower price.

Sounds like a good time to launch BetterApril :)

I'd have to agree. I'm surprised it doesn't happen more. Seems like big corps do this everywhere else.

People are hating on Intuit, and this is classic monopolist behavior, but for anyone familiar with monopoly behavior it's clear what to do.

Make a startup that does simple tax-filing. Get 20million for you and your team for a years work. Then you'll have some golden handcuffs, but the next round of entrepreneurs will take your place, repeat, and milk intuit for all their monopolistic paranoia's worth.

We need a non-profit turbotax-alternative that won't sell out to Intuit.

Just open source the code. They can not buy all the clones.

Even better: write an engine that ingests tax laws and generates tax software.

even better: legally require the tax laws to be simple

that would be rather costly to develop.

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