Microsoft winding down MSNTV

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) will end its MSNTV service Sept. 30, the company said in a FAQ posted to the MSN TV website.

The service lets subscribers browse the Web on a TV screen through a wireless remote and keyboard and a set-top box. Microsoft acquired it in 1997, when the product was known as WebTV, for a reported $425 million. It never really caught on.

Despite the name, MSNTV was never an online video powerhouse. Rather, it allowed subscribers to essentially turn their TV sets into computer monitors connected to a beefed up modem.

These days, Microsoft has much grander ambitions for devices that bridge the TV set to the Internet, with products like the forthcoming Xbox One.

The company is promoting that new game console as an all-in-one entertainment device that will pull in video from pay-TV providers and online sources. Meanwhile, Microsoft's Xbox Live service for the Xbox 360 has become a popular platform for online video and TV Everywhere services.

For more:
- All Things D had this story
- CNET had this story
- read the MSNTV FAQ here

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Ballmer running Xbox team as Mattrick departs for Zynga
Microsoft's Xbox One makes play for living room

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