Feeds

Microsoft takes hatchet to YouTube clone

Admitting Failure 2.0

Security for virtualized datacentres

Microsoft plans to "significantly scale back" its Soapbox service, the would-be YouTube challenger it launched in 2006. Whatever that means.

Speaking with Cnet, Microsoft vice president Erik Jorgensen said that Soapbox's YouTube-like user-generated video setup is just too expensive considering the state of the economy. But he didn't exactly say how Microsoft plans to cut the service's costs.

We've asked Microsoft to explain Jorgensen's statements, and all it gave was more hemming and hawing. "We don’t have anything specific to announce about Soapbox at this time," reads a statement from the company. "We are currently evaluating what the Soapbox brand means to MSN and how it relates to our content strategy.

"Online video is a key part of the MSN experience. Today, MSN Video has 35 million unique users each month, who watch 250 million video streams each month. We remain committed to delivering amazing experiences for consumers while at the same time keeping a keen eye on our business objectives during this tough economic climate."

Redmond launched Soapbox in September 2006, days before Google announced its $1.65bn purchase of the wildly-popular YouTube. Then, just six months later, Microsoft barred new users from the service in order to install anti-piracy filters. After another two months, it reopened, but naturally, it never came close to matching the popularity of its rival - which Google is still struggling to actually make money from.

As we predicted back in the fall, the melting economy has forced Microsoft to re-evaluate attempts to transform itself into some sort of "Web 2.0" outfit, and Soapbox is an obvious place to trim some of the shameless start-up mimicking.

According to CNet, Microsoft will reinvent Soapbox as a place where "bloggers and citizen journalists can post videos relevant to areas in which MSN focuses, categories like entertainment, lifestyle, and finance." So Redmond will pick and choose which videos get posted and which don't. Or maybe not.

First, Jorgensen says that a user-generated free-for-all is too expensive. Then he says he's not so sure. "We haven't decided whether you just continue to support it or whether it is too expensive and out of our focus to do," said Jorgenen, the same man who recently murdered Microsoft Money.

Presumably, Soapbox's YouTube mimicking days are over. But Microsoft can't quite bring itself to say the words. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
French 'terror law' declares WAR on the INTERNET itself, say digi-rights folks
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: Two out of three ain't bad
SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links
Not even Google can withstand the power of Auntie
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.