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November 30, 2005

Fremont to beta this year, go live in 1H2006

Posted by David Hunter at 9:30 PM ET.

The phone of Garry Wiseman, MSN product unit manager, must have been ringing off the hook about Fremont. I linked one interview earlier, and in at least the third I have seen, Elizabeth Montalbano at InfoWorld got some dates as well as what appears to be the name of the service:

Garry Wiseman, MSN product unit manager for Microsoft, said the company hopes to release a test version of Windows Live Classifieds to the public in the next month, with the full service going live in the first half of next year.

More by following the link.

Filed under Online Services, Windows Live, Windows Live Expo

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Windows Live Mail beta updated

Posted by David Hunter at 7:16 PM ET.

Imran Qureshi, Windows Live Program Manager, blogs the story:

The wait will soon be over. This week we will be releasing the “M4” (Milestone 4) update to the Windows Live Mail beta (codename: Kahuna).

We listened to what you, our beta users, told us. We fixed many of your issues, improved reliability, made Kahuna even faster and added some great features that will improve your mail experience.

Hit the link for a list of new features and some screen shots. I liked the “spell check as you type” which seems novel for Web app and it’s great that M4 supports additional browsers including Firefox, Netscape, and Opera. Unfortunately, it’s still a closed beta, but if you want to get on the waiting list, you can sign up here.

Filed under Beta and CTP, Hotmail, MSN, Online Services, Windows Live

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MSN says the shopping is great

Posted by David Hunter at 6:21 PM ET.

And that was even before they brought in Cedric the Entertainer. Here’s the press release:

Pre-holiday spending and site traffic on the new and improved MSN® Shopping in November soared to record levels, Microsoft Corp. reported today.

Early signs that this year’s holiday season could be the most successful ever for MSN Shopping include the following:

• On the Monday after Thanksgiving, known as “Cyber Monday” in the retail industry and considered as the unofficial kickoff of the online holiday shopping season, MSN Shopping had a 52 percent increase in page views and 55 percent increase in page visits compared with Cyber Monday 2004.

• Portable MP3 players, digital cameras and various clothing items are among the most searched for items on MSN Shopping this holiday season, participating merchants reported.

• More than 7,000 merchants offer products through MSN Shopping, up from 210 merchants last year.

• Selection on MSN is up to 28 million products from 5 million last year, a 460 percent increase.

• More than 91 percent of merchants that ran ads on MSN Shopping during the 2004 holiday season will do so again this year.

MSN Shopping visitors have a much bigger selection to choose from this year, with seven times the number of items and 35 times the number of retailers. And with access to new, shopping-made-easy search and comparison tools, as well as newly added product ratings and reviews, consumers and retailers alike are realizing that the shopping experience on MSN is better than ever.

Most of these bullets seem to be about structure rather than performance, but presumably the results will show up on the bottom line.

Filed under MSN, MSN Shopping

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Microsoft tells judge it’s antitrust-compliant

Posted by David Hunter at 5:18 PM ET.

Anne Broache at CNET has the story:

Under fire for a marketing plan that may have improperly favored Windows Media Player, Microsoft on Wednesday told a federal judge that it’s trying hard to avoid any anticompetitive behavior by employees.

At a conference in the same courtroom here last month, the company took heat from U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly amid news that one of its employees had devised a marketing agreement that would have forbidden portable music player makers from bundling anything except Windows Media Player with their devices.

The plans drew no complaints from Kollar-Kotelly, who said she was happy that the company had listened to her criticism and “pleased at the renewed vigor in compliance efforts.”

Actually, while the marketing agreement was the most exciting part of last month’s hearing, Kollar-Kotelly’s major complaint was about slow progress on the project documenting Microsoft communications protocols. That was also addressed in the status document discussed in court today.

Update (12/1): It looks like everything was cool – Judge compliments Microsoft:

Microsoft Corp. is moving more quickly to develop tools competitors can use to create software that runs smoothly on the Windows operating system, a judge overseeing the 2001 antitrust settlement with the Bush administration said.

On Jan. 16, it will begin giving the court monthly reports on the progress it’s making. The judge set a Feb. 14 date for the next hearing on the status of the case.

Filed under Antitrust, Legal

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