New, touch-optimized MSN portal to showcase Windows 8, IE 10 this fall

New, touch-optimized MSN portal to showcase Windows 8, IE 10 this fall

Summary: Microsoft will launch a revamped MSN portal on October 26, the day Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs and tablets go on sale. Here's what to expect.

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Microsoft plans to make a touch-optimized version of its MSN portal available to users running Windows 8/Windows RT and Internet Explorer 10 as of October 26.

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Microsoft officials are showing off a near-final preview of that portal in New York during Advertising Week, which kicks off this week on October 1. They also will be showing off new touch-centric Windows 8/Windows RT ads that will be available on MSN and on select Windows Store apps during this week's advertising confab.

The updated MSN portal will be available only to Windows 8/Windows RT and IE 10 users, starting with those in Microsoft's 11 biggest markets worldwide, saidd Bob Visse, General Manager of MSN.com. It will not be vieweable by the public until October 26, the day Windows 8 goes on sale at retail -- even by those who already are running the final version of Windows 8. Consumers using older versions of Windows and Internet Explorer (or other third-party browsers) won't have access to the updated MSN experience for the foreseeable future, he said.

The new portal will have a Metro look and feel. While optimized to be navigable via touch gestures, it also will support mice and keyboards. The MSN logo in the upper left corner serves as a "return to home" anchor for the site.

The updated site will feature MSN News -- the updated news portal featuring AP and Reuters news, along with content from Microsoft's own reporters. (Visse declined to say how many reporters Microsoft is employing now that it sold its 50 percent stake in the former MSNBC joint venture, but that number is estimated at 100.) The new MSN also will feature entertainment, sports and money subsites, like the current MSN portal does.

The new MSN portal site will include tutorials to help users learn how to navigate the new site and take advantage of Windows 8/Windows RT features like "snapping" appications to the side, and making use of the new charms.

"Eventually, we also will offer a MSN Windows 8 app and Windows Phone 8 app, too," said Visse. Visse didn't have a timetable to share as to when those apps will be available.

Microsoft also offers a Windows 8 Bing News app (which is available currently in the Windows Store), as well as the new MSN portal. While both will serve up "news" content, Bing News will be more like an aggregated news source, while the MSN portal is meant to deliver content, but also highlight and demonstrate other Microsoft technologies, like Bing search, Skype, Outlook.com, etc.

Windows 8/Windows RT users will have the option of circumventing the new MSN if they so choose and revert back to "classic" mode, which is what users with other browsers and Windows versions will see.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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13 comments
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  • Sarcasm

    I'm sure this will look great on my 25" desktop monitor...look at that great information density...

    Not just the OS, not just Metro apps, but now even Microsoft web sites will be designed around the needs of touch tablet users at the expense of the 95% with regular PCs.

    I hope there will be a link somewhere to switch to normal PC mode or else this will encourage even more MSN users to try out Firefox or Chrome. Or maybe Microsoft is expecting so few desktop PC users to upgrade to Windows 8 that it won't matter much?
    JohnMorgan3
    • I guess you didn't really read the article

      Check the last paragraph

      "Windows 8/Windows RT users will have the option of circumventing the new MSN if they so choose and revert back to "classic" mode, which is what users with other browsers and Windows versions will see."
      calfee20
      • Missed It

        Thanks, missed it.
        JohnMorgan3
  • Who in the World

    Ever looks at MSN? I didn't even know it still existed.
    txscott
    • I do.

      It is my homepage with all the information I need.
      Ram U
    • I feel the same about AOL...

      And yet, AOL and Yahoo are both still around. MSN, on the other hand, is actually a pretty decent portal... for those who like it.
      GoodThings2Life
  • Touch screen

    This should be the default for iPads and Android Tablets as well.
    Djblois
  • Hoping for really exciting differentiation

    "Eventually, we also will offer a MSN Windows 8 app and Windows Phone 8 app, too," said Visse.

    I hope these apps include a subscription service, and have strongly differentiated user experiences. The things MS could do with this! MS could have exclusive content such as concerts and news programs; have access to TV shows, music videos, a myriad of artist performances such as theatrical plays, documentaries, discussion shows, etc. There could be gaming and other interactive experiences. Of course this content should also be available on MS' Xbox app, and on a 10', Windows 8 version of the app.
    P. Douglas
  • Well I'll be d*mned

    I'd never thought I'd say this about MSN, but this new look actually looks decent!
    Free From Apple
  • And the fluff gets fluffier

    MSN portal = hotspot for dweebs.

    "What's Christina Aguilera up to today? And the rest of Tinsel Town? Oh, let's go look."
    klumper
    • Hah!

      Welcome to the 99%.
      Joe_Raby
      • I'm laughing thru the tears

        Really. For mankind.
        klumper
  • Microsoft Answers also updated

    In addition to the new Metro Theme, its been renamed Microsoft Community.
    adacosta38