Microsoft has taken another step into its cloud computing future, revealing that it will no longer ship retail versions of its Money Plus personal finance package. Instead, the product will move to "100 percent online distribution" and will be updated when required, not on the previous schedule of once a year.

"Incremental updates to the software don't merit a new product every year," the Microsoft Money team wrote in a statement. "In response to our retail partners' needs, consumer behavior and business efficiencies, Microsoft is focusing distribution efforts for Microsoft Money Plus software online via download and discontinuing traditional box sales of the software at retail."

The statement notes that while boxed retail versions of software "won't be going away anytime soon," Microsoft is evolving its strategies to meet the changing needs of the market. That market, increasingly, is moving towards cloud computing solutions, or what Microsoft calls "Software + Services." "This move \[to online distribution" means that retailers can provide more inventory of our products, but require less physical space to manage inventory."

While Microsoft Money has never had much success against its entrenched competitor Intuit, the product is a number solid two in that market. Moving it completely to the Web may solve some branding and marketing issues, and allow it to compete more efficiently with that rival product, which has been available online for years.