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Microsoft writes off calendar service

Seventeen months after acquiring calendar service Jump Networks, Microsoft gives customers six weeks notice to vacate the Web site.

Seventeen months after acquiring calendar service Jump Networks, Microsoft gave customers six weeks notice to vacate the Web site.

"We have decided to discontinue the beta of the Jump calendaring service in order to focus on delivering the best consumer calendaring experience," Microsoft wrote in a message to account holders. "This service will be discontinued 6 weeks from now on November 6th, 2000."

Though Microsoft acquired Jump Networks in April of last year, the site never emerged from its test, or "beta," phase.

In addition to the calendar, Jump Networks offers its account holders free email, an address book, task lists and reminders, message boards, and news feeds.

Microsoft purchased Jump Networks last year in the midst of a craze over online calendars. Microsoft did not disclose how much it paid for the site, but the purchase price was rumored to have been in the low 8 figures.

The purchase came just as America Online acquired When.com, and portal sites suddenly found an online scheduler to be as fundamental an offering as free email and stock portfolios.

Faced with a buy vs. build decision with regard to its calendaring needs, Microsoft decided to do both. After buying Jump Networks, Microsoft this year built a calendar for its MSN portal.

A Microsoft representative said the company had incorporated some of the features from the Jump.com site into its MSN calendar.

"As the MSN services evolved, we felt that integration of our existing MSN services was critical to consumers and chose to pull Jump capabilities into our existing services," the Microsoft representative said. "Over time, it no longer made sense to have Jump exist as a standalone service."

In notifying Jump Networks account holders that the site would be discontinued, Microsoft said the MSN calendar could import data from Microsoft's Outlook software suite, Palm's Desktop software and Yahoo's Web-based calendar. But it did not say MSN could import Jump Networks data.

Microsoft could not immediately be reached for comment on data transfers from Jump Networks.