Microsoft to kill off some MSN-branded apps

Microsoft is dropping several of its MSN Apps for Windows, iOS and Android over the next several months, as leadership makes more "tough choices."

Mary Jo Foley
Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network.
Mary Jo Foley
2 min read

Microsoft is planning to drop a number of its MSN-branded apps over the next several months.

Microsoft is sending out notices to users of its MSN Health & Fitness, MSN Travel and MSN Food & Drink apps for all platforms -- Windows, Apple's iOS and Google's Android -- that the company is planning to discontinue those apps.

Microsoft will discontinue its MSN Health & Fitness app on November 1. MSN

The moves follow on the heels of Microsoft selling off of its Bing map-data-collection assets to Uber last week. Microsoft also recently exited the display ad business, though not the search ad business, and moved its advertising teams from its Applications and Services Group -- the home of its Bing search engine -- to under Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner. Those two moves resulted in Microsoft shedding an estimated 1,000-plus employees.

Neowin reported about the planned discontinuation of the MSN apps on July 10, noting that Microsoft will discontinue Food & Drink on September 28; Travel on September 28; and Health & Fitness on November 1.

Microsoft is not discontinuing support for all of its MSN apps, including News, Weather, Sports and Money, which the company plans to make available for Windows 10, as well as other platforms, Neowin noted, quoting a note Microsoft is sending to users of the discontinued apps. Microsoft is citing "broad consumer appeal" (and lack, thereof) as the factor determining which of these apps it will continue to support.

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to me that Neowin's information is correct. No job cuts are happening in connection with these moves, the spokesperson said.

In spite of its latest moves, Microsoft is still not stepping back from its commitment to Bing, a Microsoft spokesperson emphasized. (As I've said in the past, this continued commitment isn't surprising to me, at least.) Microsoft also remains fully committed to continuing the MSN home page, the spokesperson added.

Some of the content that was provided by the discontinued MSN apps will be available in other places, such as in content on the MSN home page, the spokesperson said.

Simultaneously, Microsoft also is no longer going to support its PhotoSynth app. PhotoSynth is a photo-stitching app developed by Microsoft's defunct Live Labs. There's no date available as to when Microsoft will no longer support the app, but Microsoft is advising PhotoSynth users to get their pictures and data out of the app. The PhotoSynth cloud service will live on, however, a spokesperson said.

MSN Apps -- formerly known as Bing Apps -- were developed by the Bing AppEx team within Microsoft's Bing group. The apps were rebranded last year as MSN Apps and ported to iOS and Android. These apps were meant to showcase Bing and MSN data.

Bing is one of the areas where Microsoft's current leadership team is making sure it is tightening its focus, as is devices and hardware, which bore the brunt of this week's announced 7,800 layoffs.

This story originally posted as "Microsoft to drop a number of its MSN-branded apps" on ZDNet.