Microsoft's MSN Direct service ending in 2012

Microsoft's MSN Direct service ending in 2012

Summary: I understand there are some scientists now stating that the end of the calendar, and maybe end of the world, year of 2012 is actually off by a couple hundred years so all those 2012 movies may start to look a bit silly. Then again, if you happen to have a SPOT watch powered by MSN Direct or one of a number of GPS navigation devices with MSN Direct service providing traffic, movies, and other data your connected world will end on 1 January 2012.

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I understand there are some scientists now stating that the end of the calendar, and maybe end of the world, year of 2012 is actually off by a couple hundred years so all those 2012 movies may start to look a bit silly. Then again, if you happen to have a SPOT watch powered by MSN Direct or one of a number of GPS navigation devices with MSN Direct service providing traffic, movies, and other data your connected world will end on 1 January 2012.

I personally still have three SPOT watches and liked the technology for its easily glanceable data. However, I stopped wearing a watch and use my phone for time and date info. You may be wondering why Microsoft is ending this service and in the FAQ section you can read the following:

The delivery of location-based services in the U.S. and Canada has evolved since Microsoft began offering MSN Direct in early 2004. Leveraging unused FM radio spectrum to broadcast data represented a step forward in 2004, however, many choices today including WiFi, Cellular, FM RDS and other digital networks are now readily available and are continuing to grow in popularity. Despite good initial MSN Direct adoption, these alternatives have significantly reduced demand for MSN Direct service. As such, Microsoft has made the decision to focus future U.S. and Canada investments on these existing network connections and discontinue the MSN Direct services business. Microsoft will continue to explore new ways to leverage the efficiencies of FM digital broadcast in other applications and markets going forward.

While some people are starting to use their smartphones more for GPS navigation, I would have thought there was still a pretty large market for MSN Direct services on PNDs. Apparently, this is not true. If you have paid for service that runs past this date, then you will get a prorated refund.

Thanks to TechFlash for the heads-up on the news.

Topics: Microsoft, Hardware, Mobility

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