Microsoft discontinues Hohm energy monitoring service

Consumers are ambivalent about closely tracking their own power usage, Microsoft finds

Citing low adoption rates, Microsoft has discontinued the beta of its Hohm home energy monitoring service, the company announced Thursday.

"The feedback from customers and partners has remained encouraging throughout Microsoft Hohm's beta period. However, due to the slow overall market adoption of the service, we are instead focusing our efforts on products and solutions more capable of supporting long-standing growth within this evolving market," Microsoft stated in a blog post announcing the discontinuation.

Existing users will be able to enjoy the service until May 31, 2012.

News of the discontinuation comes only a week after Google announced that it would be retiring its own home energy monitoring service, Google PowerMeter. Like Microsoft, Google cited low adoption rates for the discontinuation.

The Hohm service analyzes home energy usage, based on information provided by the user, or by a third-party power monitor. The company reasoned that users would curb excessive energy usage once they found out where they used the most power unnecessarily. The service also provides tips on ways to cut energy usage.

Microsoft touted a number of ambitious plans to expand the service. It sought to develop a way for utility companies to upload user information directly to the application itself. It also struck a partnership with Ford to have the service alert users about the best times to recharge their electric vehicles.

Despite pulling the plug on Hohm, the company plans to still to look for ways IT can be used to cut power usage.

"Microsoft will continue to focus on developing products, solutions and partnership that span a wide spectrum of industries, such as power generation, distribution grids, buildings and [transportation] systems," the blog post reads. The company said it will continue to develop the Joulemeter PC energy monitoring software and the Smart Energy Reference Architecture (SERA) for utility companies.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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