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Microsoft turns out the light on Firefly

The company, citing dwindling use, closes the site down and folds it into a separate section in MSN Communities.

Citing dwindling use, Microsoft said it has shut down online community Firefly.

Microsoft acquired Firefly Network in 1998 mainly for the company's user profile technology. Firefly's flagship product, called Firefly Passport, collected user preferences anonymously, recommended Internet content, and sent targeted advertising.

Since the acquisition, the Firefly team has worked on Microsoft Passport, the software giant's upcoming universal registration system. Passport lets users register and sign in once to navigate through partner Web sites without having to enter a username and password for the individual sites. It is also an electronic wallet, meaning users can buy products on many different sites without needing to enter information every time.

Microsoft said it decided to close the site down and fold it into a separate section in MSN Communities. The Firefly team will continue working on other Microsoft projects.

"Managing two sites with comparable services doesn't make sense today," said Margie Miller, product manager for the consumer and content group. "It is time to start introducing these folks to MSN services."

Firefly's demise was first reported by Wired News.