Microsoft is not admitting defeat, but it is throwing in the towel: the Redmond software giant has announced that it is shutting down its Windows Live Spaces blogging service—which it claims supports some 30 million people—and converting users over to WordPress. WordPress will also be the default option when Microsoft updates its Windows Live Writer blogging tool later this year.
“Rather than having Windows Live invest in a competing blogging service, we decided the best thing we could do for our customers was to give them a great blogging solution through WordPress.com,” wrote Microsoft’s Dharmesh Mehta.
Microsoft is looking to ease the transition for Windows Live Spaces users to WordPress: the companies have worked out an automatic method for transferring blogs, photos, and comments from Live Spaces to a new WordPress blog. Users will be able to connect a WordPRess.com blog to Windows Live using Messenger Connect, so Windows Live friends will be able to receive notifications of new posts via Windows Live.
Users who don’t want to move to WordPress.com can opt to download their blog from Windows Live Spaces to their PC; from there, they should be able to leverage the data to another blogging service or home-grown site, although it’ll take more work. Users will need to select a new WordPress theme for their blog, but URLs will automatically be directed to the new WordPress blog. Microsoft has posted some FAQs on the transition, but Live Spaces users won’t have forever to make up their minds: WIndows Live Spaces will be accessible for “the next few months,” but will be closed in 2011.
Taking over Window Live Spaces is a major coup for WordPress, which—despite a spate of high-profile security gaffes—has emerged as a leading scalable content management service for blogs and Web sites. (Full disclosure: Digital Trends is currently using WordPress.) However, it’s also another black eye for Microsoft, with Live Spaces going down in history as an example of much-vaunted Windows Live social services Microsoft couldn’t make work. Another was the video sharing site Soapbox.