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Microsoft whitewashes MSN in latest Web2.0rhea whimsy

Still not shining Silverlight on UK video player

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Microsoft has taken the beta wraps off its MSN homepage, which the company relaunched in the US in November 2009.

Over the next two weeks Microsoft will roll out its Facebook-like facelift to 100 million Stateside users of MSN.

The MSN overhaul is the first major makeover to Microsoft's website - home to its free Hotmail email service, news and searches - in about a decade.

Like Facebook, Microsoft has opted for a clean white background for MSN. It previously sported a clunky blue canvas and carried lots more links.

Microsoft will be hoping to convince more people to use its Bing search engine. The software vendor trails Google by a huge margin, while its online business remains cash-shy.

The company is unsurprisingly aiming its US version of MSN at the Web2.0rhea set by slotting Twitter updates into the homepage.

It's not clear when Microsoft will bring its reborn MSN to UK shores. However, it is reportedly planning another launch of its MSN Video Player for a Blighty audience tomorrow.

In July last year the software giant made its ad-funded MSN Video Player available to some UK broadband customers. The Player features TV programmes from BBC Worldwide and All3Media.

But the MSN Video Player didn't come loaded with Microsoft's own browser-based media player Silverlight. Instead it currently uses Adobe Systems' Flash.

Microsoft, which has since inked deals with several UK TV production companies, oddly enough hasn't gotten its Silverlight house in order yet.

But that hasn't stopped the firm making a second splash with MSN Video Player tomorrow.

According to The Guardian, Microsoft plans this year to make programmes and films available in high definition based on its Silverlight tech. But Redmond clearly isn't brave enough to apply its own proprietary software to the rest of its MSN video estate yet. ®

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