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May 23, 2008

Microsoft pulls the plug on Live Search Books

Posted by David Hunter at 4:05 PM ET.

Live Search Books was announced in October 2005 as MSN Book Search with considerable hoopla, plans to digitize the British Library, and verbal fisticuffs with Google over copyright and Google Book Search, but it has all come to nought as Microsoft’s Satya Nadella announced today:

Today we informed our partners that we are ending the Live Search Books and Live Search Academic projects and that both sites will be taken down next week. Books and scholarly publications will continue to be integrated into our Search results, but not through separate indexes.

This also means that we are winding down our digitization initiatives, including our library scanning and our in-copyright book programs. We recognize that this decision comes as disappointing news to our partners, the publishing and academic communities, and Live Search users.

With Live Search Books and Live Search Academic, we digitized 750,000 books and indexed 80 million journal articles. Based on our experience, we foresee that the best way for a search engine to make book content available will be by crawling content repositories created by book publishers and libraries.

The rest of Nadella’s comments can be summarized as "Microsoft couldn’t figure out how to make any money on this stuff." I remarked when MSN Book Search was announced that the business model was rather vague and apparently altruism was not a sufficient rationale.



Filed under Coopetition, Executives, Google, MSN, MSN Book Search, Microsoft, Satya Nadella, Windows Live, Windows Live Search Academic, Windows Live Search Books

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