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Microsoft guns down 13 unlucky products

Encarta faces firing squad

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Microsoft shuttered, put a hold on and let go of 13 products in the past eight months to help it cut costs, following a profits dive at the company that led to job cuts.

According to a report published yesterday by analyst outfit Directions on Microsoft, Redmond is expected to cull more of its software and web-based products over the coming months to help it cut back on spending.

“Since October 2008, when the company began experiencing a slowdown in its core businesses, Microsoft has stopped selling or scaled back development on at least a dozen products,” wrote analyst Matt Rosoff.

“While some cancellations are probably the result of cost-cutting efforts, others may have been planned before the downturn or continue trends that started a long time ago.”

Indeed, the firm’s MSN Encarta encyclopedia website and software is one such victim of a planned culling. MS confirmed in March that it was pulling the plug on the product following Wikipedia's obliteration of the online reference market.

Similarly, Microsoft has eliminated other packaged consumer software, such as Digital Image Suite, Autoroute and Equipt, noted Rosoff.

“Nonetheless, as Microsoft continues to reduce costs, product development will be impacted,” he said.

“Understanding the characteristics of cancelled products - as well as characteristics that can protect seemingly unsuccessful products - could help partners and customers identify products that are most likely to become victims of the cost-cutting drive.”

Microsoft announced in January that it would lay off 5,000 workers. Boss Steve Ballmer admitted the firm had been forced to make the job cuts - the first in its history - to reel back spending in the face of a shrinking world economy. ®

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