MSN Tries New Tactic To Lure AOLers

Esaya's TrueSwitch service untangles user settings from AOL's proprietary web.

Microsoft is trying to remove one excuse AOL members have had for not switching over to MSN.

The Redmond behemoth is using software, called TrueSwitch, that lets users of other Internet services migrate to its MSN Internet service without risking the loss of e-mail.

"It eases the pain of switching the ISP," says Thomas Isaac, CEO of New York-based Esaya, the maker of TrueSwitch. "Its just like moving your home."

Isaac says TrueSwitch forwards all the information from one Internet account — your address book, calendaring information and email addresses — to another ISP, addressing one of users primary fears.

"AOL owns the majority of the Internet population and [users] find it very hard to switch," Isaac says. "They wont switch, because they are afraid."

The application was formally rolled out this morning. MSN is in trials with the software to gauge user response, Isaac says. Canceling another ISP account is easy with the TrueSwitch tools, because the service can cancel an account by faxing or e-mailing cancellation requests directly to the provider, according to an e-mail response from a Microsoft spokesman.

Users can register for the TrueSwitch option at MSNs Internet-access resource center. Microsoft has sweetened the deal for users thinking about migrating to its Internet service. The company says it has extended its switching offer of a $50 refund when a user joins MSN from another Internet provider.