Windows & Interoperability: 10 Microsoft Applications That Bit the Dust (or Soon Will)
10 Microsoft Applications That Bit the Dust (or Soon Will)
by Nicholas Kolakowski
Originally launched in 1993, the first version of Encarta incorporated the Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia as content. Microsoft would subsequently purchase other encyclopedias and utilize their content as well, and issue the reference application in several languages. However, Encarta couldn't compete with the rise of collaborative online reference sites such as Wikipedia, and Microsoft made the decision to shut it down in June 2009.
There may have been high hopes for Soapbox, originally released as a YouTube competitor back in December 2006. But with Microsoft's share of the online video market hovering at around 2 percent (putting it fifth behind Yahoo, Hulu, Fox Interactive Media and Google), the company made the decision to kill the application by the end of August 2009.
Name: Money Plus
Status: Discontinued; still supported
Claiming that demand for personal finance tools is on the decline, Microsoft made the decision to kill this 17-year-old application at the end of June 2009. In its place, Microsoft has chosen to devote resources to its MSN Money Website, although it plans on continuing support for Money customers through "at least" January 2011.
A programming tool for nonprogrammers, the 2-year-old Popfly let users snap together code "blocks" to create applications and Websites, all without having to actually interact with the code. Elements such as video, pictures and news feeds could be gathered on a single page via a few relatively simple actions. However, the recession forced Microsoft to re-evaluate its priorities, and the decision was made to shut down the application in mid-August 2009.
Name: Windows Vista
Status: Being Replaced Quickly as Possible
Microsoft rolled out Vista at the beginning of 2007 and found itself dealing with a backlash as consumers complained about the operating system's hardware requirements, user account control and compatibility. With its new operating system, Windows 7, rolling out on Oct. 22, Microsoft is hoping that it can effectively erase Vista and its negative associations from the collective consciousness.
Status: At Possible Risk
Microsoft's portable media player was supposed to be an iPod challenger. However, the device's sales in the United States have fallen off significantly since its late-2006 launch, to under $100 million in 2008, and it could find itself on the chopping block at some point in the future.
Name: MSN Groups
Microsoft closed MSN Groups, a section of the MSN network devoted to community pages and message boards, in February 2009 to make way for Windows Live Groups, which includes alternate features and functionality.
Name: PerformancePoint Server 2007
As part of Microsoft's shift in enterprise-centric strategy, this business intelligence product was discontinued in April 2009, and its Monitoring and Analytics capabilities combined into Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Enterprise.
Name: Office Assistant
Before being discontinued with extreme prejudice in Office 2007 and Office 2008 for Mac, Office Assistant popped up automatically to offer users advice on how to write letters and conduct other business. The default assistant, Clippy, aggravated many users to the point where it inspired parodies on a number of TV shows, including "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy."
Name: MSN Search/Windows Live Search/Live Search
Status: Rebranded as Bing
First there was MSN Search. After that was Windows Live Search, which made its debut in 2006 and offered search tabs such as news and images. Then Microsoft rebranded its search engine as Live Search, but that didn't quite seem right for the company, which reorganized its search options a number of times. Finally, Microsoft decided to start afresh with Bing, which represents a total retooling of the company's search apparatus.