In an announcement on the MSN TV site, Microsoft said it was closing the service effective of September 30, claiming that since its inception, “the web has continued to evolve at a breathtaking pace, and there are many new ways to access the internet.”
MSN TV, originally known as WebTV, started life in 1996 with a goal to bring new customers online with an “easy, hassle-free means of accessing the internet.”
Microsoft bought the WebTV business in 1997 for a reported US$425 million, later rebranding as MSN TV before the launch of a second generation of the service MSN TV 2.
The news comes after Ericsson agreed to buy Microsoft’s IPTV platform business Mediaroom in April, with Microsoft claiming that it will commit 100% of its consumer TV strategy to its Xbox games console, which already acts as a gateway to web-powered video services.
In its last quarterly earnings report, Microsoft said that its console-focused entertainment service Xbox Live now has more than 46 million members worldwide, an 18% year-on-year increase. Its Entertainment and Devices Division – which includes its Xbox assets, as well as Skype and Windows Phone – posted revenue of US$2.53 billion (€1.94 billion) in the three months ending March 31, up 56% on last year.