It's been rumored for a while now that Microsoft was going to pull the plug on the blogging platform component of Windows Live (known as Windows Live Spaces). On September 27, company officials made that decision official and public.
Microsoft officials announced that Microsoft is partnering with Wordpress to try to help users who've set up Windows Live blogs using Spaces to move to the Wordpress platform. At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Microsoft and WordPress announced that WordPress is becoming "the default blogging platform of choice for all new and existing Windows Live customers."
Microsoft officials promised the Windows Live Spaces migration to WordPress.com -- which will be available as of today, September 27, will be "automated and easy, ensuring the movement of blog content, integrated media, comments and links is simple."
The actual mechanism for moving Spaces blogs over to WordPress blogs is an importer created by WordPress. Going forward, new Windows Live users also will be offered a WordPress.com blog if/when they choose to create a new blog.
Windows Live Spaces users will have six months to move off the Spaces platform to WordPress or some other alternative. I've asked Microsoft what will happen to their blogs if they don't do so. No word back so far.
Update: Here are a couple of answers from a Microsoft spokesperson to my "what if" questions:
Q: What if user doesn’t make the six-month transition cutoff? Is his/her Spaces blog automatically turned into a Wordpress blog? A: There will be several communications to Spaces users in the six months to prompt them to migrate their content to Wordpress or save their content to their PC. If they don't take either action during the six months, their content will be removed when Spaces is decommissioned.
Q: What if a user wants to use something other than WordPress. Will he/she have an option and any kind of migration tools from Microsoft? A: If Spaces users chose not to migrate to WordPress.com, they can save their content and then post to the blogging platform of their choice.
WordPress officials noted that they've added support for Messenger Connect as a Publicize option on WordPress, "which enables you to automatically share updates to your WordPress.com blog with your friends who use Windows Live Messenger."
Slowly, but surely, the family of the many services offered under the "Windows Live" banner is getting smaller and more definable.
Update 2: For those worried about the future of Microsoft's Windows Live Writer blogging tool/app, Microsoft officials say there is no plan to phase it out and it will remain part of the Windows Live family.