updated 09:05 am EDT, Tue September 19, 2006
Microsoft Soapbox Beta
Microsoft has seen its share of influence in social networking erode steadily in the wake of MySpace and YouTube: the combination of the two sites has left Internet users (especially younger ones) with few reasons to ever venture to Windows Live Spaces. In hopes of reversing this trend, Microsoft today launched a beta of its new Soapbox video service, a direct response to the abundance of web-based video sharing sites. Currently invitation-only, the service is notable for the absence of any proprietary Microsoft technology: unlike MSN Video, all videos are Flash-based instead of Windows Media and can be accessed by most any modern browser. Also significant is a hands-off approach similar to YouTube. Soapbox users can freely upload, exchange, and comment on videos without active monitoring by Microsoft; the company says it will only remove videos if copyright holders or other involved parties object. Advertising is not present in the beta but is expected to appear when the service is completed within six months.