Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Why Live Spaces Failed

With a lot of media attention, Microsoft announced the closure of Windows Live Spaces. The remaining users will get migrated to the Wordpress platform. It was a surprising development to Microsoft and the Live brand. In recent times, they have made attempts to become part of the lucrative social networking sector. MSN messenger, which is a hugely famous messaging piece of software, got renamed as Live Messenger and continually gets developed. The latest installment includes loads more features than just simple IM messaging. Live Spaces was a continuation of Microsoft's play in this field but sadly for Microsoft, user levels failed to match the usage numbers of Windows Live Messenger and they pulled the plug.

You have to wonder why such a big company would be motivated such a decision. Live Spaces, although bulky in design, was a straightforward way to blog for many users, particularly people who were more comfortable with other Microsoft applications. It was integrated with Windows Live Messenger. Additionally, it supplied online advertising space (in a similar way to how advertising works on Google's Blogspot). HoweverSurprisingly, Microsoft decided to simplydecided simply to close itshut it down and provide current users a totally different service. Which is perhaps a good choice for people that take blogs seriously (as Wordpress is a dedicated blogging platform), yet for people which are not familiar with blogging platforms, the integration with Windows Live Messenger was welcomed.

If you accept recent data, the user numbers of Live Spaces was smaller than Microsoft previously stated. But, this signifies another thing that is very important. Particularly, what then are users using instead?

One belief is that blog writing is on the decrease and micro-blogging and social networks have superseded a lot of the motivation to blog. But, this is a common wrong belief. The blog is still strong. Indeed, blogging websites make up some of the most used sites on the net. Thousands of blogs are built every single day. Perhaps then, Microsoft just designed Windows Live Spaces wrong.

It is a curious website: part community site, part blog, part instant messenger, part profile page, part online storage. Perhaps, Microsoft did not understand what its customers wanted. Arguably, they might have preferred a more straightforward application, not necessarily connected to another account. Maybe Microsoft could have provided a streamlined, focused service taking out the social network feature and replacing it with more functional services. Microsoft is regarded as the leading manufacturerworld leader in office based software. Lots of people are used to using Microsoft Office applications
at work, college or whilst at home. Thus, it would be much more innovative to see Microsoft work with the things its most respected for, along with possibly a social bookmarking service or password storage.

Technology is increasingly being driven by converging technologies: a single program that has lots of different features and uses. Lots of Internet sites are also multi-functional, providing many innovative functions. Microsoft should acknowledge its unique selling point as a utility compared withas opposed to something frivolous. Designing a more streamlined Live Spaces will mean Microsoft can compete with more new web browsers (as Internet Explorer user numbers continues to decrease). By providing features such as an online bookmark manager or secure password manager, Microsoft can reposition themselves and create their own niche in an otherwise over populated sector.

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