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February 9, 2006

Microsoft denies MSN to be rebranded

Posted by David Hunter at 8:03 PM ET.

Confounding earlier rumors, Elizabeth Montalbano reports at InfoWorld that MSN is going to be MSN Media Network in all but the name:

Though the new head of Microsoft’s MSN division has been calling the company’s MSN portal “MSN Media Network” internally, Microsoft has no formal plans to rebrand the site, a Microsoft spokeswoman said Thursday.

Rumors and published reports surfaced earlier this week that Microsoft would change the official name of its MSN portal to reflect a ramp up of services on the site offering more access to digital media and entertainment content. However, Microsoft spokeswoman Kathy Gill said Thursday that while there will be an enhancement of entertainment and media services under the leadership of new MSN division leader John Nicol, the MSN brand will not change.

“There will be investments going forward so it feels like a media network, but it will still be MSN,” she said.

There’s more there, but cut to Alison Linn at the AP who scores an interview with Nicol:

Microsoft Corp.’s plans to rebrand its free e-mail, instant messenger and Web search products under the name “Live” could be interpreted as a sign that MSN — the unit that previously housed those products — is a sinking ship.

But John Nicol, the executive recently put in charge of MSN, insists that isn’t the case. In an interview Thursday, he said the changes will allow MSN, Microsoft’s Internet portal, to focus more on providing content such as entertainment and even home videos.

Nicol, a longtime Microsoft executive who took over as general manager of MSN about three months ago, said the revamped MSN will include more opportunities for users to contribute their own content, such as posting their own videos or rating hotels on the unit’s travel site.

There’s more like that in both pieces and frankly, it seems like less than an exciting future. Some skeptical pundits are quoted in the second article.

Filed under General Business, MSN, Marketing

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