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May 12, 2009

Microsoft pulls the plug on QnA

Posted by David Hunter at 11:33 AM ET.

Microsoft beta launched their Web "answers" site as Windows Live QnA in August 2006 and it never made it out of beta – MSN QnA will be closing May 21, 2009.

We are ending the QnA beta test and are closing the QnA site on May 21, 2009.

First and foremost, we want to thank you for your participation. Since we introduced QnA, we’ve learned a lot about this new way of communicating and creating valuable content. At this time, we are closing the QnA site, but the experience of running QnA and gathering all of the great feedback you’ve shared with us will certainly influence future product direction.

When QnA moved from the Live Search organization into MSN we announced that we’d be looking for new ways to share questions and answers across MSN and provide new opportunities for you to engage with each other and share your opinions, ideas, and knowledge. That mission has not changed. Questions and answers are still important to MSN and your feedback has been very valuable for our future product strategy. You’ll see more ways of how MSN will empower people to connect and communicate over the coming months.

I must have missed the branding transition to MSN from Windows Live, but then it looks like everybody else did too. The Web answers biz is completely dominated by Yahoo Answers – even Google had to pull out of it – so it is no surprise that QnA had a hard time getting traction.

Filed under Beta and CTP, Coopetition, Google, Microsoft, Windows Live, Windows Live QnA, Yahoo

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December 31, 2006

Microsoft Weekly Miscellany, December 31, 2006

Posted by David Hunter at 12:02 PM ET.

Mary Jo Foley interviews Jeremy Allison who is free to dish on the Microsoft Novell deal now that his tenure at Novell has ended. One of many good lines:

A nagging doubt is that if I had just spoken out louder against the deal I might have been able to change something, but I was too quiet until too late. It’s *hard* to be the one saying the emperor has no clothes, especially whilst listening to others praising the finery of the silk stitching :-) .

I’m sure plenty of folks at Novell have now noticed how chilly it is.

HD-DVD AACS hacked and Studios Take Claims of AACS Crack Seriously. It’s more of an exploit of some specific HD-DVD player software but it works and it means that all currently released titles are vulnerable.

MMS Exploit Released for Windows Mobile – No Patch Available:

And remember, just because it doesn’t look like a computer doesn’t mean it can’t be owned.

More discussion here.

Is this the HTC 2007 Windows Mobile lineup? HTC manufactures most Windows Mobile phones.

The PlayStation 2 Still Rocks:

“The PS2 will have legs well into 2008,” says Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities in Los Angeles. And while Nintendo Co.’s Wii console is getting most of the industry buzz, and the Xbox 360 from Microsoft Corp. has racked up big sales in its year on the market, some say the PS2 might even beat out each of those offerings in 2007. “The PS2 probably has the capacity to sell more than any other gaming” console, says Simon Jeffrey, chief operating officer at game maker Sega of America.

Interesting times ahead.  The first round results will be clear when we get some holiday sales numbers. Also, Microsoft Xbox 360’s updated 65nm CPU delayed to mid 2007.

Yahoo! Answers Captures 96% of Q and A Market Share according to Hitwise. Windows Live QnA got 1%. Not a surprise – Yahoo owns this niche.

Windows Live Mail Plus rumored to offer 4GB storage and some other assorted bling for the subscription price.

Read the Exchange 2007 fine print since Microsoft has tinkered with the Client Access Licenses (CALs).

And last but not least, Microsoft: Vista’s Secure, Not Perfect. Of course, but the question is whether it is secure enough to get Microsoft out of the emergency patch rut and live up to its advance billing to customers.

Filed under Blu-ray, Coopetition, DRM, Digital Media, Exchange, General Business, HD DVD, Hardware, Licensing, Linux, Microsoft, Nintendo, Novell, OS - Client, Open Source, Servers, Sony, Technologies, Windows Live, Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live QnA, Windows Mobile, Windows Vista, Xbox, Yahoo

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November 29, 2006

Google Answers folds

Posted by David Hunter at 11:26 AM ET.

The demise of Google Answers was officially announced here but visit Danny Sullivan for some traffic statistics and analysis. Like Danny, I’ve been dubious of these Web “question and answer” services, but Yahoo has clearly found the right approach – free and social:

But in June, I had to admit that my being dubious in terms of Yahoo Answers was off the mark. The service kept notching up tons of traffic, and Yahoo continues to put its weight behind it, to the point of even more integration last week of Yahoo Answers material into regular results.

Look Out Wikipedia, Here Comes Yahoo Answers! from me is my long look at the service and some of the factors in its success. Unlike Google Answers, it doesn’t charge. And unlike Google Answers, there are a lot of “answers” that are more discussions happening rather than searches being fulfilled.

Even if there’s a lot of chatting going on, I think there’s no denying that Yahoo Answers turned into the social success that Yahoo hoped its 360 service or My Web would be. There’s a entire active community taking part in Yahoo Answers, and some of those are going to translate into Yahoo searchers.

That action’s not lost on Microsoft, which kicked off its Windows Live QnA service in August. I haven’t seen a ton of buzz like with Yahoo coming out of it, so maybe lighting only strikes once, in this case.

I mentioned the August Windows Live QnA launch here. In terms of traffic, the QnA team clearly has their work cut out for them since according to the latest Hitwise numbers shown by Sullivan, QnA has less than half the traffic of Google Answers which has only about 4% the traffic of Yahoo Answers. As for Google, maybe they’re learning when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

Filed under Coopetition, Google, Microsoft, Windows Live, Windows Live QnA, Yahoo

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August 29, 2006

Windows Live QnA beta goes public and Live Alerts goes live

Posted by David Hunter at 8:12 PM ET.

Betty Aoki at The Windows Live QnA blog has the news:

It’s with great pleasure, a lot of late nights, and barrels of caffeine, that our team launches the public Windows Live QnA beta.

For all you thousands of beta testers who took a chance on us, nagged us, mocked us, and made us better – we thank you. Keep doing it. Enjoy.

Hit the link for some tips on usage and go to for the real thing. Marshall Kirkpatrick has some thoughts on the increasing ubiquity of question and answer services at Techcrunch.

As for Alerts, Chris at LiveSide reports:

The MSN Alerts service has now been migrated over to Windows Live, and is available from

The link didn’t work work for me at first, but now does, so it’s likely just rolling out. Alerts is a service that sends news alerts to users via IM, email, or to a mobile phone. Also for the bottom line, the home page has a large tower graphical ad in the right sidebar.

Filed under Advertising, Beta and CTP, General Business, Microsoft, Online Services, Windows Live, Windows Live Alerts, Windows Live QnA

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