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[FYI] MSN drops newsgroup support


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MSN drops newsgroup support 

By Jim Hu  

Staff Writer, CNET News.com  

February 23, 2000, 4:00 a.m. PT  

Microsoft's MSN Internet site is dumping support for newsgroup 
discussions, the latest sign that the pioneering online chat format 
is being bypassed by the commercial Web.  

An MSN representative said the site is replacing newsgroup 
discussions, which are currently hosted on the open-ended Usenet 
network, with other options available on the site. She said the move 
was sparked by convenience.  

"We are removing newsgroups from MSN servers because we now have a 
better communication vehicle provided by MSN Web Communities--
including chat, message boards, email and Web pages," the 
representative wrote in an email. While newsgroups will no longer be 
supported on MSN.com, they will still be available at the company's 
corporate Web site, Microsoft.com.  

Marked by freewheeling and often rudely frank discussions on hundreds 
of specialized topics, newsgroups early on came to embody the 
Internet's ideal of free and open communication. But with the 
emergence of the Web and commercial sites, newsgroups have been 
steadily pushed to the noncommercial fringes.  

"Newsgroups are unruly and message boards are easier to convert into 
a business," said Anya Sacharow, an analyst at Jupiter 

Turning newsgroup chat into e-commerce gold has proven elusive, as 
companies such as Deja.com and Talkway discovered. Like Microsoft, 
both turned away from newsgroups after failed attempts to tap them 
for revenue.  

"One of the charms of Usenet is that it's so completely 
decentralized," said David Ritz, a Usenet advocate. "(Microsoft's) 
operation is into control. This cannot be accomplished in  Usenet."  


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