Microsoft to stop MSN Direct connected navi services by end-2011

MSN Direct services will be available only until January 1, 2012. The MSN Direct homepage has the following announcement:

‘Customers can continue to enjoy the full benefits of MSN Direct, along with service and support, up until that date. Pro-rated refunds for unused portions of existing One-Time Payment and other subscription plans will be automatically credited after January 1, 2012. Customers may cancel service at any point prior to that date and receive a pro-rated refund for any unused portion of their subscription.’

Note: Garmin has a Send-to-GPS service from Google using MSN Direct. Read more here.

Reason for stopping the service:

The delivery of location-based services in the U.S. and Canada has evolved since Microsoft began offering MSN Direct in early 2004. Leveraging unused FM radio spectrum to broadcast data represented a step forward in 2004, however, many choices today including WiFi, Cellular, FM RDS and other digital networks are now readily available and are continuing to grow in popularity.

Despite good initial MSN Direct adoption, these alternatives have significantly reduced demand for MSN Direct service. As such, Microsoft has made the decision to focus future U.S. and Canada investments on these existing network connections and discontinue the MSN Direct services business. Microsoft will continue to explore new ways to leverage the efficiencies of FM digital broadcast in other applications and markets going forward.

Source: MSN Direct.

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