Business

Microsoft pulls the plug on MSN TV

Microsoft will shut down its MSN TV service, the company announced on its website and in an email to subscribers.

The service will no longer be available as of September 30.

MSN TV is a survivor of the dotcom era and was born from WebTV, a company that Microsoft acquired in mid-1997 for $425 million. The Web TV technology designed by Internet entrepreneur Steve Perlman was considered ahead of its time. Perlman was the first to marry the computer and television.

Microsoft rebranded the service in 2001 and integrated it with Windows CE. The company made a pile of money by offering a monthly subscription. This heyday period came to an end in the early 2000s due to increased competition from companies like AOL.

With its user base dwindling, the team behind Web TV was split, and many of the most talented engineers were scooped up by the Xbox unit. Perlman would later leave to start his own research think tank, Rearden, and a new cloud gaming company, OnLive, where he stayed until 2012.

In recent years, Microsoft has zeroed in on Xbox as its connected TV platform for the future. The Xbox One, which launches in November for $500, is designed to leverage the rise of second-screen viewing. The Xbox One is being positioned as an “all in one” platform to play games, watch TV or movies, and simultaneously stream music through voice or gesture commands.

Here’s the email that was sent to subscribers:

Dear MSN TV Subscriber,

For the past decade, we have been excited to build products that provided our customers with easy access to the Internet on TV. Unfortunately, all good things must eventually come to an end. Today we are announcing that we will be closing the MSN TV service. The last day of the MSN TV service will be September 30, 2013. We want this transition to be as smooth as possible for you. This letter explains what you need to do before the service ends if you want to have access to your email, favorites, Scrapbook photos, Page Builder pages, and any other data.

Before the MSN TV service ends, you need to make sure that all the users on your account have upgraded toOutlook.com (formerly called Hotmail), saved any favorites and Scrapbook photos to SkyDrive, and archived any published Page Builder web pages that you wish to save. We have created an MSN TV Closure FAQ that provides detailed information on how to do all of these. Please read it at http://www.msntv.com/msntv/ClosureFAQ.asp.

After you have upgraded to Outlook.com, your MSN TV email address, along with your existing email, will continue to be available for you to use. Outlook.com offers many advantages, such as accessing your email from a computer or smartphone that has a connection to the Internet. From a computer or smartphone, you can accessOutlook.com by visiting http://www.outlook.com.

If you would like access to your favorites and Scrapbook photos after the MSN TV service ends, you will need to copy them to SkyDrive before the service ends. SkyDrive provides storage in the cloud, so you can easily access and store your favorites and photos all in one place and sync with other devices. You can also share your photos on SkyDrive with family and friends. You can learn more about SkyDrive at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/skydrive/overview from a computer or smartphone.

To ease the transition and help ensure you maintain Internet access, we will be providing some special offers for both the MSN Dial-up and Premium services. You will need a computer, Microsoft account, and active MSN TV subscription. Visit http://get.msn.com/msntv.aspx to view and sign up for one of these offers.

Many of you already have a computer for accessing the Internet. For those of you who do not, we recommend visiting the Microsoft Store for a wide variety of device options. Go to http://www.microsoftstore.com.

We want to sincerely thank you for your continued support of the MSN TV service over the years. We have enjoyed bringing this technology to such loyal customers.

If you have any questions that are not answered in the MSN TV Closure FAQ, you can contact Customer Support at 800-469-3288 between 6 am – 8 pm PST. Again, we want to thank you for your support and commitment to Microsoft products.

The MSN TV Team


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