SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp.  The world’s largest software maker, launched on Wednesday its MSN service allowing Web users to publish and track each other’s blogs, or online journals.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said that the free blogging service, called MSN Spaces, had attracted 4.5 million users during its preliminary test phase, which began last December.

Microsoft’s MSN Internet division also launched the latest version of its MSN Messenger for swapping instant messages and sharing photos.

Blogs, short for "Web logs," have become a popular way for Web users to publish their opinions, observations and information on the Internet to a wide audience.

"We expect this to have wide appeal outside the United States," said Blake Irving, vice president of communication services at Microsoft’s MSN Internet division, adding that MSN Spaces would be available in 15 languages in 30 markets.

Yahoo Inc., MSN’S rival, also launched a new Web log and social networking service called "Yahoo 360." Google Inc., Microsoft’s newest rival in online search and Web-based services, also has a popular blogging service called Blogger that the Web search company bought in 2002.

According to Reuters, Microsoft is expanding its online services to fit new demands, such as blogging and winks in MSN Messenger. This step is likely to invoke a new round of service competitions among major online service providers, such as Yahoo and Google.


       Microsoft is updating its service to fit new demands, such as blogging, and attracted a lot of users in a short time. This step may boost competitions between Microsoft and its rivals.


In modern internet age, a successful new service will be followed with a competition in no time. After Google announced its GMail plan a year ago, which provide record high 1GB free email accounts, almost every free major email service provider increased their user storage limit, such as Hotmail (from 2M to 250M) and Yahoo (from 6M to 1G) After Google acquired, Microsoft began the beta test of MSN spaces, which include major function of old MSN groups and introduced the blog function. It is still too early to say who will win this the competition, but the immediately result of it is the improvement of user satisfaction, which is the most effective way to maintain user’s loyalty and attract potential users.


What is you email service provider? Why did you select it?

Why do you check many email boxes, if you have more than one email service provider?

How will you react if the service provider sends advertisement email to your email box, or adds advertisement to your homepage?

How will you react if you are told that you email service is not longer free?

How you think about personal online publishing, such as blogging?

Do you think internet censorship may affect personal online publishing?


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