Every item has a lifespan. It is replaced, improved, or combined with another entity. Even Microsoft, renowned for its generosity and patience in allowing a product to build traction, is prepared to pull the plug when required.
Here are some of Microsoft's most prominent products that have been discontinued.
This was perhaps the most popular product to be discontinued in 2013. Microsoft announced the discontinuation of TechNet owing to excessive piracy and abuse. TechNet was founded in 1998 to provide IT professionals with perpetual Windows client and server operating system licenses. For years, people exploited the system until Microsoft had enough. The migration of users to the MSDN network has begun.
Microsoft performed a great deal of consolidation this year, and its Live products were incorporated into several other applications. Live Mail and Hotmail were incorporated into Outlook.com, Live Mesh was discontinued in favor of SkyDrive, and Live Messenger was discontinued at the start of the year, with existing accounts being migrated to Skype.
It was released in February and disappeared by October. But for a good cause. The Surface Pro 2 tablet is a significant upgrade over the first Surface Pro, with the manufacturer saying it offers up to 75% longer battery life and 20% greater performance. They must now just sell some.
Windows Small Business Server
Microsoft declared with the introduction of Windows Server 2012 that it would no longer provide a small business version of the operating system. The corporation encourages small business owners to use Microsoft's hosted cloud offerings instead. You may thus either migrate to Azure or implement Server 2012, Exchange Server, and SharePoint. Which would you rather have?
Before launching a website, Microsoft first released Encarta on CD-ROM in 1993 as part of the first wave of multimedia products for PCs. Microsoft sought legitimacy by purchasing rival encyclopedias, notably Collier's Encyclopedia and New Merit Scholar's Encyclopedia, in response to criticism of Wikipedia's questionable validity. The company's attempt to acquire Encyclopedia Britannica proved unsuccessful.
The manner in which this was handled angered many individuals. Microsoft Flight Simulator was one of the firm's earliest products, having debuted in 1978 from game producer subLOGIC prior to Microsoft's 1982 acquisition of the company.
Flight Simulator has a large mod/add-on market and a devoted audience. These individuals were outraged that Microsoft terminated the game without attempting to sell it. With the 2008 economic collapse, Microsoft began evaluating its assets, and the games business, including FlightSim, suffered a significant blow in early 2009.
Microsoft's Zune was a me-too device that arrived much too late. Typically, Microsoft's lateness to market is not a problem. It is regularly late to market, which was not a concern before. Microsoft had several great concepts for the Zune, such as the ability to share music with other Zune players, but the Zune stood little chance against the iPod. Microsoft debuted it in 2007 and discontinued it in 2011, but certain Zune components still exist. Xbox Live and Windows Phone 8 use the player.
Microsoft terminated the Kin device mere weeks after its introduction. The Kin phones were uglily designed low-cost PCs intended for the younger market, particularly those who could not afford a smartphone. The Kin was the subject of a thorough post-mortem by Engadget, which detailed the effects of a rewritten operating system and an emphasis on higher costs. Microsoft instead concentrated its efforts on Windows Phone.
Windows Home Server
This new home product was unveiled by Bill Gates at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show and released that same year. Established on Windows Server 2003 R2, it was designed for households or small workplaces with numerous linked PCs, and it provides file sharing, automatic backups, a print server, and remote access. However, neither Microsoft nor the OEMs exerted any serious effort in this regard. Microsoft would only distribute it through OEMs. Linux's early success was aided by the fact that it could not be downloaded and installed on a dated computer. With such a lackluster attempt, its existence was terminated last year.
Microsoft purchased this quick HTML creation tool from Vermeer Technologies in 1996. It is included in Windows NT Server, including the Internet Information Server web server software and the Office suite. FrontPage and IIS were very proprietary and closed Microsoft product code. Microsoft was criticized because its front- and back-end software did not transfer readily. With the maturation of IIS and FrontPage, Microsoft moved away from the vendor lock.
This one was short-lived. Microsoft revealed that Expression Studio would no longer be a standalone product six years after its debut. Expression Blend was incorporated into Visual Studio, and Expression Web and Expression Design are now available as free products. However, Expression Web and Expression Design will not receive technical support, and Microsoft has no plans to launch new editions of Expression Web or Expression Design.
Microsoft did not succeed in all of the markets it targeted. It was never successful in home financing. Intuit, the creator of Quicken, has dominated this market for decades. Microsoft attempted to purchase the company but encountered substantial government opposition. So it attempted to compete with Quicken, but without success. From 1991 through 2009, Microsoft's Money had a negligible market share, despite the company's efforts.
A decade ago, open source enthusiasts were cautiously hopeful that Microsoft would embrace open source religion with Port 25 and projects such as IronPython and IronRuby. So much for the last one. No formal statement was made, but knowledge began to seep out when a former employee who had worked on the project disclosed the fact in blog postings.
Windows Live OneCare
OneCare, Microsoft's first effort at a security suite, was based on Reliable Antivirus (RAV), which Microsoft acquired in 2003 from GeCAD Software Srl. The program included disk cleansing and defragmentation, a comprehensive virus scan, backup notification, update checking, and a firewall. However, reviewers and security experts panned the program. Many rated the AV scanner extremely poorly, at the bottom in testing, and stated that the firewall allowed for too many possible exceptions. Microsoft was selling it for $59 at the time. Microsoft discontinued the program after the introduction of Windows 7 and launched Microsoft Security Essentials, which detects malware more effectively overall.
Xbox One DRM
This almost led to Microsoft's demise. Microsoft previously suggested DRM for the Xbox One, including forced Internet connections, restrictions on game sharing with friends, and the necessity that the Kinect motion detection camera is always connected. This was followed by cries of outrage from gamers and threats of a boycott.
Featured image: Microsoft icons created by Pixel perfect
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