Microsoft has signed the death sentence of MSN Direct and is informing customers that they will be able to continue using the service for two years and a couple of months before it will be discontinued. MSN Direct was designed to accompany the company’s smart “Spot” watches, products that have themselves been killed off since 2008. However, the service kept on serving a variety of data including traffic information, but also updates on gas prices, weather reports and Doppler maps, news, stocks, local events, movie info, etc, all sent to GPS devices wirelessly. Come January 1st, 2012, MSN Direct will be shut down.
“Customers can continue to enjoy the full benefits of MSN Direct, along with service and support, up until that date. Pro-rated refunds for unused portions of existing One-Time Payment and other subscription plans will be automatically credited after January 1, 2012. Customers may cancel service at any point prior to that date and receive a pro-rated refund for any unused portion of their subscription. Microsoft customer support is available to answer any questions about existing subscriptions or refund eligibility at 1-866-658-7032,” Microsoft informed.
The Redmond company is assuring customers that all current navigation devices using MSN Direct will continue to allow end users to leverage the service until 01/01/2012. After the beginning of 2012, the devices will not suffer any operational changes with the exception of the fact that all MSN Direct services and information delivery will stop working. MSN Direct was launched in 2004 for customers in the United States and Canada. The service is leveraging unused FM radio spectrum in order to serve broadcast data to customers. Microsoft noted that the reason for its discontinuation was lack of demand and the fact that MSN Direct had become obsolete.
“Many choices today including WiFi, Cellular, FM RDS and other digital networks are now readily available and are continuing to grow in popularity. Despite good initial MSN Direct adoption, these alternatives have significantly reduced demand for MSN Direct service. As such, Microsoft has made the decision to focus future U.S. and Canada investments on these existing network connections and discontinue the MSN Direct services business. Microsoft will continue to explore new ways to leverage the efficiencies of FM digital broadcast in other applications and markets going forward,” the company explained.