Microsoft buys WebFives: mobile photo upload and sharing enhancements headed for Windows Live

Brier Dudley of the Seattle Times reports that WebFives will be ceasing operations at the end of the year, after being bought by Microsoft. The Seattle start-up was started by Mike Toutonghi, the former Microsoft Distinguished Engineer who started Windows Media and ran it until he left Microsoft in 2003, and funded by former Senior Vice President Brad Chase.  The company started business in 2004 as Vizrea, but pulled back last year and re-emerged as WebFives, focusing on mobile content upload and sharing.  In a letter to users sent out Nov. 30, Toutonghi made the announcement, and hinted that some of the technology behind the company would be headed into Windows Live:

From Friday’s letter to WebFives users:

While WebFives has pioneered some great technologies, including automatic upload of content from mobile phones and PCs, high-quality video sharing services, and automatic RSS feeds for everyone, our next challenge will be to help Microsoft incorporate the best of those technologies into its already comprehensive suite of products and services. I encourage you to look at MSN Spaces and/or Windows Live services as an alternative to WebFives for serving your video, photo, music sharing, and blogging needs on the Internet.