MSNs New Blogging Service on the Way

Microsoft is expected to take the wraps off of its MSN Spaces blogging service this week as it aims to take on Google's Blogger and other blog creation and hosting services, according to sources close to the company.

Microsofts MSN division is expected to take the wraps off of its MSN Spaces blogging service this week, according to sources close to the company.

MSN is expected to tout MSN Spaces as a direct competitor to blog creation and hosting tools such as Blogger, Blog*Spot, LiveJournal and TypePad. Microsoft also will position MSN Spaces as a way to allow users to more easily share photo albums and music lists, insiders said.

Some users have been speculating that MSN will allow users to post to their blogs via MSN Messenger 7, the latest version of Microsofts consumer instant-messaging client, which is in beta now and due to ship in early 2005.

In August, MSN launched a beta version of its blogging tool for the Japanese market only. At that time, MSN officials declined to discuss when and if they planned to broaden the beta to other countries. MSN officials said they considered the MSN Spaces beta as "an incubation project."

"Japan was our chosen market for this service due to usage of mobile data and mobile blogging, but also the high level of customer interest in PC blogging and online communities," a spokeswoman said at that time.

MSN officials did not respond to a request for comment on the companys latest MSN Spaces plans by the time this article was published.

Some industry watchers have said they consider Microsofts move into blogging as a counteroffensive against MSN archrival Google. Last year, Google purchased Pyra Labs, the San Francisco-based vendor behind the Blogger blog-authoring platform.

MSN also is beta testing a service called MSN Blogbot, which is a blog-search service. According to sources, MSN is not quite ready to release the final version of MSN Blogbot. MSN Blogbot and its sister product, MSN Newsbot, also in beta, both rely on Moreover Technologies Inc.s aggregation engines.

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