The World May Not End in 2012, But MSN Direct Wireless Data Service Will (Sniff)

The world may not end in 2012, but MSN Direct will as reported by the Los Angeles Times…

Microsoft to shut down MSN Direct traffic service for GPS

Microsoft’s own MSN Direct has a Q&A page set up to answer questions about the end of this wireless service that held a lot of undelivered promise…

MSN Direct Service Announcement

MSN Direct was port of Microsoft’s SPOT (Smart Personal Objects Technology) effort that transmitted data one-way over FM radio sub-carrier frequencies. They basically partnered with local FM radio stations to deliver data to devices like watches (the first SPOT product), weather stations, and car navigation devices.

I have two Suunto SPOT watches myself that will stop providing data functions on January 1, 2012. They will, apparently continue to provide basic time functions continuing forward after MSN Direct data services stop. I will, quite honestly, miss the services of watches I’ve used nearly every workday and most weekends since around late 2004 or early 2005 for the first of my two watches. I still receive news alerts on the watch that I find useful. And, I used to get my calendar alerts on the watch too until my last Windows XP PC died taking with it the ability to send Outlook calendar alarms to my watch – The MSN Direct Outlook plugin doesn’t install correctly under either Windows Vista or Windows 7, unforunately. It is too bad those MSN Direct people don’t speak with Microsoft.

I still believe that SPOT and MSN Direct were good ideas with poor execution and marketing. It is too bad I will loose what has been a useful tool for me for half-a-decade (and the watches still work fine!). The watches still have a bit over two years of useful life with data service. So, I intend to keep using them until January 1, 2012.

Publish date: October 28, 2009 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT