Microsoft phased out 13 products in last 8 months, analyst says

Competition or a changing market can hasten the axe

Employees aren't the only victims of Microsoft Corp.'s declining profits, as the company has killed, frozen or spun out 13 software and Web services since last fall, according to a report released Monday.

Matt Rosoff, of the independent analyst firm, Directions on Microsoft, said more product cancellations are likely "as Microsoft continues to reduce costs."

Potential victims include products that overlap with others inside Microsoft but have less internal executive support, wrote Rosoff. Others include products such as Encarta, whose market has disappeared due to competition -- in Encarta's case, Wikipedia -- or products introduced to compete against firms no longer seen as threats to Microsoft, such as Office Accounting and Dynamics Entrepreneur, both killed now that Intuit Corp. has been replaced by Google Inc. on Microsoft's radar.

Products that are likely to survive cost-cutting purges can be tiny, such as the MSN dial-up Internet service, as long as they still turn a tidy profit. Or they can be money-bleeding products like XBox or the search engine Bing that are considered key to defending Microsoft's money makers such as Windows or Office. Or they may merely need the support of leaders such as Bill Gates, as MSN Direct and the .Net Micro framework did, wrote Rosoff.

Rosoff's list of products cancelled by Microsoft since October 2008 can be seen here.

Sometimes Microsoft outright kills a product. Take Encarta, which was a victim of Wikipedia and Microsoft's move away from packaged consumer software, Rosoff said

Other times, Microsoft folds struggling products into better-performing ones, such as Office Live, a collection of online services for small businesses that is being merged into Windows Live, or PerformancePoint Server, a pricey, short-lived business intelligence app that Rosoff said overlapped too much with SharePoint Server, into which it is being folded.

Some products are made free due to a plethora of free rivals. Examples include anti-virus service OneCare, which will be replaced by a free product code-named Morro, and SharePoint Designer, a Web site designer which will also be given away free to accelerate the SharePoint ecosystem.

Others were niche products that were spun out, such as Microsoft's quiet spinoff of its RoundTable videoconferencing hardware to Polycom in April. That move was used to "eliminate" the product "quickly without alienating current customers," wrote Rosoff.

Another example was Microsoft's transfer last fall of its MSN Groups service to

Sometimes products are old and gently nudged aside. Microsoft put Office Accounting into maintenance mode, meaning the company will support it through the end of its lifecycle but no longer plans to update it.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Microsoft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?