Blog Post

MSN: The Portal As Platform

This week’s Redmond reorg sent a message inside and out: It’s time to stop thinking of MSN as a content portal and to start taking it seriously as Microsoft’s web platform — faster, more efficient and more responsive. It’s already been used to test and deliver elements that will show up in the next OS, Windows Vista, and other programs like IE. For instance, reports, MSN Desktop Search will show up as the Vista search function. Rob Helm, director of research, Directions on Microsoft, says, “MSN has become, bit by bit, a channel to get stuff out from a Windows organization that otherwise was kind of blocked by their rather difficult delivery process.”
The result should be a higher-profile, better-supported MSN. What it means for the content side is a little less clear. Microsoft needs content as a draw, a hub and a revenue stream, but it doesn’t have to own it. Could AOL wind up as the content provider? Stranger things have happened.