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, occuring 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.