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Microsoft axes Windows Live Spaces, taps WordPress

The software giant is linking up with Automattic as it opts to partner rather than continue pushing its own, less popular blogging service.

SAN FRANCISCO--Microsoft said today that it is scrapping its aging Windows Live Spaces blogging technology and will instead make WordPress the default blogging option for Windows Live.

It's the latest move by Microsoft to use Windows Live to connect to other leading Web services, rather than rely on its own, less popular options. For example, Microsoft has shuttered its not-so-widely-used Soapbox video-sharing site and now gives users of Windows Live Movie Maker the option of posting to Facebook or YouTube. Within Windows Live Photo Gallery, people can post to Windows Live, but can also share photos directly to Facebook and Flickr.

"There are 30 million people who are actively using Windows Live Spaces and have been eagerly awaiting the next set of new blogging features," Microsoft's Dharmesh Mehta said in a blog post. "For these customers, Windows Live and have worked together to build a simple way to move your blog posts, comments, and integrated photos right over to and start taking advantage of all their new features."

Microsoft and WordPress maker Automattic announced the move at the TechCrunch Disrupt event here.

"This is a unique advantage of Web services, where somebody can transition a user base and still maintain a connection with them," Automattic CEO Toni Schneider said at the event.

Microsoft said that users can start migrating their Windows Live Spaces blog to WordPress today and that WordPress will be the default option when its updated Windows Live Writer blogging tool comes out later this fall. Windows Live users will also be able to send an update to their friends when they have a new blog post, Microsoft said.

One option that it appears users won't have, however, is sticking with Windows Live Spaces.

"If you're not ready to migrate today, you can also choose to download your blog content, migrate later, or delete your Space," Mehta said, pointing users to a page listing their options.

CNET's Tom Krazit contributed to this report.