Microsoft Enters The Soapbox Derby

    December 7, 2006

Microsoft makes the announcement that it’s online video uploading site Soapbox will not be part of the Windows Live brand.

In a surprising move, Microsoft’s upcoming video uploading site codenamed Warhol, has been given the final moniker of “Soapbox”, and will not be categorized in the Windows Live brand.

At the Lehman Brothers Technology Conference earlier this week, keynoter speaker Steve Berkowitz, Microsoft’s Senior Vice President of Online Services, informed attendees that Microsoft had a renewed interest in MSN.

“Rather than just abandon these hard-to-attract customers, simply because they prefer a pre-programmed entertainment-portal-style experience to a more geeky Windows Live one, why not try to steer them toward Microsoft’s Live platform as it evolves? If you can convince users to take the time to enter their contacts into Live Messenger and their address books into Live Mail, you’ve got them hooked,” said Berkowitz.

Berkowitz also stated that Microsoft hopes to put MSN in a position to be, “the best partner for media companies” based on the fact that Microsoft “doesn’t compete directly with them.”

The project was originally created to be a contender in the incredibly competitive online video sharing market, in which YouTube currently holds the monopoly. Since YouTube’s inception and release to the public in July of 2005, its number of viewers has skyrocketed and is nearing the 50 million mark

However, MSN should be a viable competitor to the already established online video sites with its 465 million user views a month. Also, the fact that the site is run by the software giant Microsoft should be enough to gain a significant amount of traffic.

The Soapbox site is currently still an internal beta, but is expected to move into public territory in the next few weeks. Current features include:

– Upload videos in almost any format-like from your video or digital camera (maximum file size is currently 100MB)
– Tag and categorize your videos to make it easy for other people to find them
– Watch original videos and browse for new ones at the same time
– Set up your own personal RSS feeds for videos you’re interested in
– Use your Windows Live Spaces profile with Soapbox on MSN Video
– Embed a video on your Web site or blog

Ultimately Berkowitz says the goal with its destination is to “flesh it out with its other core Windows Live services, like Mail, Messenger and Spaces.”

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Autmn Davis is a staff writer for WebProNews covering ebusiness and technology.