Microsoft launches site for IT pros

Software giant has introduced social-networking site Aggreg8, although few details are available at present

Microsoft has launched a social-networking site for IT professionals, called Aggreg8.

At present, there is little information about what Aggreg8 will offer. Users have to log in using a Windows Live ID or Microsoft Passport account, and then log into Aggreg8 itself. Microsoft UK was unable to provide any information about the service, but it appears that it could work as a forum where people can meet and exchange information.

The site should not be confused with a Mozilla newsfeed (RSS) aggregator project of the same name, although the domain is the same.

According to Philip Roche, the UK-based developer of the open-source Aggreg8, Microsoft approached him in July via a New York-based domain company. Roche agreed to sell aggreg8.net and aggreg8.com for $2,000 and $3,000 respectively, but he subsequently registered the .co.uk and .org sites of the same name for his own project.

"I sold them [the .com and .net domains] and, in negotiating the price, I mentioned that I might have to change the name of the application, but that was never brought up from their side. So my plan now is not to change the name of the domain — I will bring out the next release under the same name as they didn't say I could not," Roche told ZDNet UK on Monday.

Shortly after selling the domains to Microsoft, Roche noted on his blog that they were being used to host "Microcosm, which is a Microsoft portal of sorts". It would appear that the Microcosm portal has now become Aggreg8.

Describing his own project as "very small" — although it had a large user base some years ago — Roche said he had now signed up for Microsoft's new venture, despite the fact that "there doesn't seem to be much traffic on it at the moment". He also described Microsoft's decision to incorporate its Passport sign-in mechanism — now supposedly superseded by Windows Live — into Aggreg8 as "very strange".