Windows Live Shopping no more – MSN Shopping to remain

By Chris | In News | Posted February 19, 2007 10 comments

From today Windows Live Shopping beta will be taken offline, with users being sent to MSN Shopping, available at shopping.msn.com. This appears to be part of the ongoing self-correcting process taking place in on Windows Live, occurring as a result of various MSN products being moved over to the new Windows Live brand in 2006, without much thought being given to their long-term future. In this case, reverting back to MSN is a good decision, as having 3 shopping products under one brand was just too much.

So how do the various shopping services differ? Here’s how it was explained to us when we chatted with the Product Search team early last year:

  • MSN Shopping (briefly Windows Live Shopping beta) – this service is aimed at providing the user with access to the large retailers. Think of this as your large high-street shopping complex / mall.
  • Windows Live Product Search – for those who know exactly what they want, and are happy to purchase from smaller, less mainstream retailers. Integrates with Windows Live Search for a complete search experience.
  • Windows Live Expo – user to user marketplace, just like Ebay.

So with Soapbox, Shopping and Wifi soon to all be with MSN, will this confuse the regular user more or less? It seems that the original argument around MSN providing content is not as clear cut as it used to be. Here’s a challenge for our readers in the comments, try to explain the difference between Windows Live and MSN now.

Update: I caught up with Rob Wolf, who is responsible for marketing the various Windows Live/MSN shopping products. Here’s what he had to say:

“Windows Live Shopping Beta was launched as a technology showcase that paired the vast selection of MSN Shopping with some of the user interface enhancements provided by Windows Live services – Live gadgets, drag and drop, dynamic pages, etc.

This test enabled the shopping team to glean valuable insight into user behavior.  These learnings are being incorporated into the team’s plans for future products.  User-created content from Windows Live Shopping Beta (lists, guides, and reviews) will continue to be available on MSN Shopping.

MSN Shopping was and will continue to be the flagship product of our team.  It receives the vast majority of user traffic and is the target of all on and off network promotion.”

Update 2: The main Windows Live Shopping site has been updated to reflect the closing.  It now redirects to MSN Shopping.

Posted February 19th, 2007 at 7:33 am
  • Zaarin

    Glad that they know what they’re doing over at MS, because I sure as hell don’t.

  • quikboy

    Thanks for the info. Chris. I appreciate it. It’s about time they got that straightened out.

  • tophtucker

    They haven’t started redirecting yet, from what I see…

    I think it’s a good move. But the current Windows Live Shopping is much more advanced than MSN Shopping, so they should basically just replace MSN Shopping with Windows Live Shopping but rebrand it to MSN Shopping… if you see what I mean. :)

    While they’re at it, how about giving The New MSN Shopping the same style as MSN Entertainment and MSN.com have adopted?

  • http://jackiboi.spaces.live.com/blog Jacki Boi

    Please say there will be a new UI for MSN shopping then, cos it pretty much sucks at the moment.

  • http://paulstorms.spaces.live.com paulstorm

    all of this makes complete sense to me. MSN Shopping isn’t a search/services problem. I think of MSN Shopping as more of a digital mall. Product Search is when I want quick/dirty access to products and run comparisons or filter them easily.

    I was hoping this would be corrected and it has. :)

    Live — all your *information* and the people/circles you care about — self customized.

    MSN — all the news/content thats fit to print — preprogrammed for you to digest.

  • mrx9898

    Well I tihnk this sucks, another Windows Live service reverted back to MSN. Pretty soon you’ll probably have to rename the site: MSN Side instead of LiveSide. Microsoft need to get there act together!

  • tophtucker

    “Microsoft need to get there act together!”

    I think that’s exactly what they’re doing. ;)

  • Chris

    Just added in a bit of info from Rob Wolf, who is on the shopping team.

  • http://sxmangel.spaces.live.com/ sxmangel

    I’m happy with this one…Shopping doesn’t quite fit into the Live package in my mind.

  • quikboy

    Now I know many people are on the topic of how Microsoft should have sorted it, but let’s think about right now for a moment. Why get rid of Live Shopping? MSN shopping is very ugly and yuck. At least Live Shopping had a good UI going, and it looked like a nice site (although I personally don’t shop), but getting or rid of the nicer one? I at least hope they’ll keep the same elements of Live Shopping, when they place the MSN name on it.