Microsoft is planning to drop a number of its MSN-branded apps (formerly Bing apps) over the next several months.
Microsoft is sending out notices to users of its MSN Health & Fitness, MSN Travel and MSN Food & Drink apps for all platforms -- Windows, iOS and Android -- that the company is planning to discontinue offering those apps.
The moves follow on the heels of Microsoft's selling off of its Bing map-data-collection assets to Uber last week. Microsoft also recently exited the display ad, though not the search-ad business, and moved its advertising teams from its Applications and Services Group -- the home of Bing -- to under Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner. Those two moves resulted in Microsoft shedding an estimated 1,000-plus employees.
Neowin reported about the planned discontinuation of the MSN apps on July 10, noting that Microsoft will discontinue Food & Drink on September 28; Travel on September 28; and Health & Fitness on November 1.
Microsoft is not discontinuing support of other of its MSN apps, including News, Weather, Sports and Money, which the company plans to make available for Windows 10, as well as other platforms, Neowin noted, quoting a note Microsoft is sending to users of the discontinued apps. Microsoft is citing "broad consumer appeal" (and lack, thereof) as the factor determining which of these apps it will continue to support.
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to me that Neowin's information is correct. No job cuts are happening in connection with these moves, the spokesperson said.
In spite of its latest moves, Microsoft, is still not stepping back from its commitment to Bing, a Microsoft spokesperson emphasized. (As I've said in the past, this continued commitment isn't surprising to me, at least.) Microsoft also remains fully committed to continuing the MSN Home page, the spokesperson added.
Some of the content that was provided by the discontinued MSN apps will be available in other places, such as in content on the MSN Home Page, the spokesperson said.
Simultaneously, Microsoft also is no longer going to support its PhotoSynth app. PhotoSynth is a photo-stitching app developed by Microsoft's defunct Live Labs. There's no date available as to when Microsoft will no longer support the app, but Microsoft is advising PhotoSynth users to get their pictures and data out of the app. The PhotoSynth cloud service will live on, however, a spokesperson said.
MSN Apps -- formerly known as Bing Apps -- were developed by the Bing AppEx team within Microsoft's Bing group. The apps were rebranded last year as MSN Apps and ported to iOS and Android. These apps were meant to showcase Bing and MSN data.
Bing is one of the areas where Microsoft's current leadership team is making sure it is tightening its focus, as is devices and hardware, which bore the brunt of this week's announced layoffs of 7,800.