Microsoft are closing down their MSN TV service, a service which was known as WebTV. This service was one of the first to offer Internet access via a television set.
It will close down on September 30th after being acquired by Microsoft in 1997 for $425 million.
The original WebTV was founded by Steve Perlman in 1996 and was such an exciting proposition that Microsoft forked out almost half a billion for ownership. The service offered television based email and web browsing via wireless keyboards but it did struggle to get wide spread acceptance.
Microsoft rebranded the service under the name MSN TV in 2001, integrating it with MSN Messenger and MSN Hotmail. The company offered the interactive service free to new MSN customers, but Microsoft have placed on their focus on the Xbox game console in recent years, offering similar services.
Microsoft have blamed changing times for the decline of the service, saying that people can get online now in so many ways.
They said “WebTV (later called MSN TV) started in 1996 with the goal to bring new people ‘online’ and to give those already online an easy, hassle-free means of accessing the internet from the comfort of their homes. Later, MSN TV 2 was released with vastly greater power and features. Since then, the web has continued to evolve at a breathtaking pace, and there are many new ways to access the internet. Accordingly, we have made the difficult decision to end the MSN TV service on September 30th, 2013. We are working with our customers to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible.”
As Microsoft close this service, Apple are set to open their new Apple TV services. They are said to be close to sorting out a deal with Time Warner Cable. Last month Apple partnered up with Time Warner Incs HBO GO and Disney’s WatchESPN applications.
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