WebTv MsnTv News
July 20, 2001
The first official word about WebTv changing to MSNTv is an email to it's users from WebTv. Saying, all WebTv services will remain the same for it's users. Just a name change and a new look....I hope the transition goes smoothly but, judging by WebTv's past performance, they will probably screw something up.
June 16, 2001
The update to the 2.6 upgrade is now available. This is supposed to fix bugs in the 2.6 and allow faster connection and surfing.
May 21, 2001
Microsoft lawyers have been successful in shutting down Easy Web TV for trademark/copyright violations. Easy Web TV has already sent notices to it's users. Easy Web TV could get another name and keep going but, all info including personal web pages and email addresses, will be lost. The decision was made to shut down rather than rename.
May 10, 2001
NEW YORK (Reuters) - While software giant Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has not formally announced a rebranding of its WebTV operation, one executive at the Internet television service said it has undergone some organizational changes, and the new team that works on it is now called MSNTV.
"You can see natural synergies where the MSN service and WebTV experience overlap," MSN Group Product Manager Bob Visse told Reuters last week.
Earlier this year, Microsoft shifted management of Mountain View, Calif.-based WebTV to MSN, the
advertisement company's consumer Web services business, whose subscriber base recently reached 5 million.
In another sign that Microsoft is dropping the WebTV branding, Chief Financial Officer John Connors referred to the unit as "MSNTV" at an investment conference last week. "They are clearly rebranding it because WebTV has a lot of bad baggage," said Jupiter Media Metrix analyst David Card.
WebTV, which was introduced with great hoopla in 1996, has lost some of its allure in recent years.
Demand for the service has plateaued to a small minority of those who don't want to use a personal computer to access the Web and check e-mail and those want to have access absolutely everywhere they go, Card said.
Microsoft has been focusing on its UltimateTV product, which has digital video recording capabilities such as letting viewers pause live TV. Many industry analysts see this feature as one of the most attractive of interactive television, which aims to marry the best of the Web with television viewing.
May 4, 2001
Microsoft to beef up MSN label, rename TV
By Brier Dudley
Seattle Times technology reporter
Microsoft will rename its interactive TV service MSNTV, Chief Financial Officer John Connors disclosed yesterday during an investor conference in Bellevue.
Renaming the service will be the latest of several recent adjustments in Microsoft's TV business, as well as efforts to strengthen the MSN identity. The moves are part of a broad effort to diversify beyond personal computers and extend the reach of its Internet-based services.
The change follows recent management shuffles under Rick Belluzzo, the company's president and consumer-product chief, who last month tapped a new leadership team at MSN, which directs one of the most heavily trafficked family of Web sites. Since Belluzzo joined the company in 1999, it has cut poorly performing Internet ventures and clustered others under the MSN umbrella.
The renaming could mean that Microsoft intends to make MSN the Web portal for the company's WebTV and UltimateTV services, which enable users to surf the Internet and exchange messages through their televisions.
Microsoft bought WebTV in 1997, and in January it began offering the more advanced Ultimate TV, a service that enables users to digitally record shows and pause live programs.
Microsoft also could be following the lead of American Online, MSN's primary competitor, which has an interactive TV service called AOLTV.
Yesterday, MSN also began offering an online payment service identical to AOL's Quick Cash feature. MSN's service is based on Citibank's c2it technology for transferring funds online and can be used for payments in online auctions.
A manager in Microsoft's TV division acknowledged the MSNTV name is pending but refused to comment.
Connors, speaking at the Ragen MacKenzie Conference at the Meydenbauer Center, mentioned MSNTV in passing as he described the six areas where Microsoft sees opportunity to grow: personal computers running Windows software; knowledge workers using Office software; enterprise platforms and services; small- and medium-business commerce and communications; devices other than PCs; and consumer services.
Two of those areas converge with TV: Microsoft builds software that runs set-top devices, and it offers WebTV and UltimateTV.
"We will soon rename our TV, MSNTV,'' Connors said.
Connors declined to provide further details after his speech. Nor would he discuss whether the change is related to efforts by Microsoft and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. to buy the Hughes DirectTV satellite broadcasting business and create a large, multinational broadcasting venture. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Microsoft would contribute $3 billion to buy Hughes, a subsidiary of General Motors.
Perhaps Microsoft would run an MSNTV Web site offered by the News Corp-Microsoft venture, speculated Josh Bernoff, an interactive TV analyst with Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.
Regardless of the Hughes deal, MSNTV could be the Web portal offered through WebTV, Bernoff said.
April 2, 20001
A couple has filed a lawsuit against WebTv, i a California court, for misleading and false advertising. Bloomberg.com reported that the couple filed suit because WebTv failed to live up to promises made in it's advertising to " make your Tv like a computer". Citing the inability to download and to hear and see certain audio and video that computer users can. This could be a class action suit.....UPDATE April 8, 2001...Net4Tv has an updated article on the lawsuit. http://net4tv.com/voice/story.cfm?storyid=3653
March 11, 2001
The free Star Blvd. transloader has been shut down. The pay service is still up but maybe not for long. This was a financial move by the company that supports the transloader. Anthony, your presence in the WebTv community will be missed.
February 25, 2001
WebTv has started rolling out the new upgrade. It is supposed to fix bugs in the summer 2000 upgrade and give the WebTv browser 4.0 status. Everyone should have it in about the next three weeks. I sure hope it's better than the last bug infested upgrade.
January 28, 2001
WebTv has a new system Status Board. You can check the status of instant messenger, talk city, e-mail and connection among others. This has been long over due from WebTV. If they keep it current it should be a great asset to WebTV users. You can get to the status board from WebTV Home by clicking help then latest news. The URL of the status board is http://developer.webtv.net/status_board/stat.html You can check WebTV status from a P.C. with this address.
Microsoft Settles FTC Charges Against WebTV - Update
By David McGuire, Newsbytes
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A.,
25 Oct 2000, 2:57 PM CST
WebTV Networks today settled federal false advertising charges by agreeing to permanently pull its offending ads, give refunds to misled customers, and help educate consumers about the real capabilities - and limitations - of the WebTV service.
Announced earlier today by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the proposed settlement signals the end of the FTC's multi-year investigation into WebTV's advertising practices. The FTC is expected to finalize the settlement in 30 days after a public comment period.
The FTC accused WebTV, a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., of misrepresenting the capabilities, and the real cost of the WebTV service, which allows consumers to access the Internet through their television sets.
WebTV advertisements promised "complete ... Internet access," despite the fact that WebTV users are unable to access much of the content and services available to Internet users with personal computers, the FTC alleged in its complaint.
The ads ignored the fact that WebTV users can't download files, visit certain Web sites, or access some types of "streaming video" files, the FTC said today in a statement.
Although Microsoft fought the allegations, the company ultimately agreed to the terms proposed by the FTC, Microsoft spokesperson Vivek Varma said today.
"While Microsoft disagreed with some aspects of the commission's allegations regarding the advertisements, we were pleased to provide consumers with the additional disclosures" requested by the FTC, Varma said.
With the settlement signed, Microsoft is free to "move forward with the WebTV business," Varma added.
The FTC further alleged that WebTV failed to make clear the fact that a "significant percentage" of WebTV users would incur long-distance phone charges when using the service.
WebTV customers who cancelled their service because long-distance charges are entitled to full refunds under today's settlement.
Also as part of the settlement, WebTV agreed to develop a two-part "consumer education campaign" that will include advertisements in several national magazines highlighting both the advantages and drawbacks of Internet access devices like WebTV.
While the settlement does not call for Microsoft to pay any cash penalties, it does address the FTC's primary concern about WebTV ads misleading consumers, FTC attorney Dean Forbes told Newsbytes today.
Forbes, the FTC's lead counsel in the WebTV investigation, said that while Microsoft does not have to pay any punitive fines, the company will have to pay for the public education campaigns it agreed to promote and will also be on the hook for damages if it violates the settlement agreement.
Microsoft and WebTV could be forced to pay $11,000 per violation if they reneged in any way on the FTC settlement.
Reported by Newsbytes.com, http://www.newsbytes.com.