MSN wants Web to be for everyday

SEATTLE -- Microsoft Corp., aiming to reposition its Microsoft Network as the portal for the "everyday Web," Thursday took the wraps off its revised vision for its floundering navigation hub.

SEATTLE -- Microsoft Corp., aiming to reposition its Microsoft Network as the portal for the "everyday Web," Thursday took the wraps off its revised vision for its floundering navigation hub.

Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT), which is embracing the fourth major strategic direction for its MSN service in as many years, this time is focusing its efforts on casting itself as a platform for applications that Web users access on an everyday basis.

"The Web is entering a new phase," said Rick Belluzzo, group vice president of Microsoft's Consumer and Commerce Group. "We believe it is going to become an indispensable part of life."

Belluzzo, the former CEO of SGI (NYSE:SGI) who was hired earlier this month to shepherd Microsoft's Internet efforts, outlined the company's Web strategy during a day-long press and analyst briefing being held today in downtown Seattle.

While the average Web user goes online once every 13 days, according to Microsoft consumer research, the company is aiming to provide services that will bring users back to the Web on a more consistent basis, Belluzzo said.

"It's about services," he said. "It's about delivering a whole new value proposition."

Details, schmetails
For today, at least, Microsoft was short on specifics on new Web initiatives that it has not previously announced. Today's briefing was as much about charting MSN's vision for the coming year as it was about making news announcements, Belluzzo said.

Microsoft aims to "make the Web as ubiquitous as the telephone but 1,000 times more useful."
-- Brad Chase, Microsoft


Topping the list of new initiatives is the introduction of a new portal aimed primarily at small businesses called Microsoft bCentral, which builds on the capabilities from Microsoft's LinkExchange unit. Microsoft also said it plans in November to launch an integrated shopping service that allows users to search, compare and buy products via a single site.

Microsoft Network, which has been signaling its move to focus on online applications for the better part of 1999, also highlighted the increasing role that alternative devices will play in its efforts to deliver productivity applications anytime and anywhere.

ZDTV VIDEO:


Windows DNA: Microsoft's new Web strategy

In addition to developing applications, such as e-mail, universal registration and instant messaging for its MSN portal, the company also will become more aggressive in licensing versions of the large-scale applications to other Web site developers, said Brad Chase, vice president of Microsoft's Consumer and Commerce Group.

Aiming for the top
The company's goal is to take a pre-eminent position as a provider of large-scale applications that can be licensed to outside partners who can not afford to develop over-arching applications on their own. Microsoft in particular is focusing efforts in the areas of communications, search, e-commerce and shopping, Chase said.

The company today, for instance, said it would license its MSN Messenger software to outside third parties that want to market instant messaging services under their own brand name.

"It's all about providing software and service blocks to outside third parties," Chase said. "This goes back to our heritage as a platform company."

The goal of the large-scale application development is to extend a common framework for extending the capabilities of online communications and commerce to a broader set of Web sites, Chase said.

"That's how we make the Web as ubiquitous as the telephone but 1,000 times more useful," Chase said.

As an extension of its role as a service bureau technology provider, MSN will also seek to build a string of marketplace partnerships to deliver broad-scale electronic commerce services.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All