MS set to kill off YouTube competitor, Soapbox, on August 31

Microsoft has confirmed today that it plans to close its' video service, MSN Soapbox on August 31.

Only last month, the company announced they were planning to scale back Soapbox and transform it from an also-ran in the user-generated content space into a forum where bloggers and citizen journalists can post videos.

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Neowin that "on August 31, 2009, MSN will no longer offer MSN Soapbox. Beginning on July 29, customers will no longer be able to upload videos to Soapbox and we encourage any Soapbox user that wants to keep their videos to download them off of Soapbox prior to August 31. We will be communicating to our valued Soapbox community using several different methods to ensure that people are able to keep any video that is important to them."

According to the company MSN Video has 88M unique users around the world, who watch 480M video streams each month. Online video will remain a key part of the MSN offering. With rumours of Microsoft launching a streaming music service this month, the company could be scaling back services that aren't as popular as their rivals to make way for future services. Soapbox was intended as a competitor to YouTube but never reached the popularity level that its rival achieved.

Soapbox originally launched as a beta service in late September 2006. Microsoft officially launched a public beta in late February 2007. Soapbox was given the MSN branding during a time the company seemed confused whether to name its web services "Live" or MSN.

Soapbox joins Popfly and Microsoft Money in Microsoft's recent cut backs.

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49 Comments

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I'd say it's about time Microsoft killed MSN entirely... The only good concept was the single sign-on live id, and I'm sure there are plenty of people using Messenger, but I have about zero MSN contacts...

Breach said,
I'd say it's about time Microsoft killed MSN entirely... The only good concept was the single sign-on live id, and I'm sure there are plenty of people using Messenger, but I have about zero MSN contacts...



I concur. Each new MSN wave gets tackier and more junky looking. They should just make MSN.com a hub to connect to its big name services Xbox, MSNBC News, Hotmail, Office Live, and Messenger.

A number of shutdowns lately. :S

But then again, MS has had this odd habit of trying to conquer as many markets as possible lately. I'm not really too surprised with this turn of events.

I don't really like YouTube to begin with (if it wasn't for the amount of content) and I was hoping when Soapbox launched, it would be a great competitor.

Shows what happens when Microsoft doesn't fully commit to a new service. Microsoft is perfectly capable of making a wonderful competitor worth switching to, but they chose not to.

Quikboy said,
I don't really like YouTube to begin with (if it wasn't for the amount of content) and I was hoping when Soapbox launched, it would be a great competitor.

Too many ads compared to youtube, but I agree it SHOULD have been a great competitor especially with feature like AJAX, you never need to reload the whole page to view your video. This point is great but I think the majority of web user are not ready to understand that sometimes the url doesn't change and you can't just copy/paste that on msn to your friends, you have the dedicated link below the video... it's just a thought but all these factors have, in my view, contributed to soapbox downfall.

If you guys think that Google would not like to kill Youtube, you are kidding yourselves. Who do you think has to pay for storage of all this as well as bandwidth? Youtube is a money pit for Google...

Orange said,
Never heard of this before, Google owns Youtube so Google +1, Google is taking over the web!!


Heck, it never got linked in the channel bar on the msn home page. What did MS expect?!

Ballmer gets his company to do everything there exists in the software and IT (IT Services) industry. From Email to SaaS, everything.

Someone should remind him of the definition of flagship, and the concept of sticking to it. :P

when your service is paid by itself (publicity) you can't really compete with totallyf ree of ad alternative like youtube ...

Do you mean that YouTube is not advertised for, or that there are no advertisements on Youtube? (I'm guessing the former, which is indirectly correct but the latter is definitively untrue)

Omkar� said,
Do you mean that YouTube is not advertised for, or that there are no advertisements on Youtube? (I'm guessing the former, which is indirectly correct but the latter is definitively untrue)

Just the fact that you don't have ads before/after playing a video on youtube. On soapbox after each video an ad begins and sometimes between videos too. Microsoft was, from what I understand, provide a service that is paid by itself instead of pouring hundreds of millions into the service each year like google has been doing ever since they bought it.

boogerjones said,
YouTube competitor? Huh?

Well it's a competitor in the sense that it's also a video sharing website, similar to Youtube. However, to say it's a worthy competitor is something different again :P

If it has even a tiny share in prompting YouTube to better its services, then I'd say Soapbox (which, like most people here, has been a long forgotten name for me) was a viable 'competitor'...

It's about time Microsoft do some cleaning. It's sad how a recession was the only thing to show them the way instead of common sense. Microsoft are starting to do the right things. Looking forward to a new direction and new services.

is that me or MS have killed so many products (Encarta , MS money , onecare and popfly ) this year and now this


:S

skynetXrules said,
is that me or MS have killed so many products (Encarta , MS money , onecare and popfly ) this year and now this


:S

No, it's part of their new plan. They're cutting off a bunch of their services to become a more streamlined and lightweight company. Lets face it, OneCare is the only product that a decent amount of people cared about today, and even then a large portion wasn't interested.

sweetsam said,
Wasn't this posted not too long ago ?


They first said they would cutting down the services related to soapbox (whatever that meant) and now they sayu they will discontinue the whole thing.

I was hoping MS would release a video site similar to Youtube that would use Silverlight, but alas. 1080p instant streaming + user generated content = yes please.

GP007 said,
I think they will. Maybe this is why they're taking down soapbox?

Out with the old and in with the new later?

Well, hopefully.

Of course, my true desire would be for Youtube to just use Silverlight instead of Flash, so we no longer have to put up with that silly buffering logo.

The Teej said,


Well, hopefully.

Of course, my true desire would be for Youtube to just use Silverlight instead of Flash, so we no longer have to put up with that silly buffering logo.


That'd be great but it'd also be a big move with all that old content. And I somehow doubt Google would want to use Silverlight anyways.

The Teej said,

Well, hopefully.

Of course, my true desire would be for Youtube to just use Silverlight instead of Flash, so we no longer have to put up with that silly buffering logo.


Are you suggesting that silverlight has some magical properties where it doesn't need time to load the video? That is amazing, I can't believe everyone isn't using this straight away. It must use some new Microsoft compression, that compresses all video into a few bytes, and just sends that.

I hate flash, but I am not really interested in putting another "flash" on my computer. Won't be installing silverlight anytime soon, no matter how much Microsoft pays sites to use it (see MLB videos).

cakesy said,


Are you suggesting that silverlight has some magical properties where it doesn't need time to load the video? That is amazing, I can't believe everyone isn't using this straight away. It must use some new Microsoft compression, that compresses all video into a few bytes, and just sends that.

I hate flash, but I am not really interested in putting another "flash" on my computer. Won't be installing silverlight anytime soon, no matter how much Microsoft pays sites to use it (see MLB videos).

http://www.iis.net/media/experiencesmoothstreaming

You mean like this? Then yes, yes I do.

Shunik Jan said,
If only it was Silverlight, it would be perfect. Sadly there would be too much extra cost if they try to offer both.


Soapbox wasn't silverlight was it? At least I don't think it was since it started in 2006?

Anyways MS is working on redoing everything off of MSN and Live and trying to get them together into one place now that Bing is out the door I figure. I'm sure we'll see a new video service at some point in the future with better integration with the rest of the services.

hotdog963al said,
...Except Vimeo. Which is better than YouTube. Less **** content, nicer UI, etc etc.


Buffering is pretty bad on that vimeo.com site.

Here's 3 things for YouTube :
- Remove everything Flash for God's sake. Yes, build your own movie player, but not in Flash.
- Add some AJAX. Like when you're adding a comment, it could appear right away or something like that. No, it appears like a couple of minutes after, and since SPAM exists on YouTube and is pretty major, I guess they don't get reviewed by YouTube's workers.
- The captcha when I registered was a pain in the ass. I was sure I wrote the correct word, but it would work after like 20 times. Annoying.

Other than that, I love YouTube. I use it more to watch videos than to post mine, but all in all it's a great service. Just a couple of things need work.

Krazy Bluez said,
Youtube wins, no other site can as be good as youtube...

Youtube is dropping in quality very fast ever since it capitulated and agreed to cooperate with the RIAA. They keep deleting all the good videos and censoring the audio. Plus there's no nudity or "offensive" videos allowed. Some other sites are going to pick up on those videos and Youtube will lose.