Windows Live Spaces shutting down, WordPress.com takes on users

Microsoft's blogging platform Windows Live Spaces is being decommissioned, and the users are being absorbed by WordPress.com, Microsoft and Automattic Inc. announced on Monday.

Beginning today, Windows Live Spaces users have the option to automatically migrate their entire blog over to WordPress.com when they sign up to create a new WordPress blog, otherwise their content will be removed from Windows Live Spaces when it shuts down in six months.

As of June 2010, WordPress.com hosted 11.4 million blogs, and 13.8 million blogs were powered by the WordPress blog software. The retirement of Windows Live Spaces will displace about 30 million active bloggers.

Windows Live Spaces was born under a bad sign in late 2006. When it launched, it was more or less broken for its first 12 hours online. Many users called for the return of MSN Spaces, Microsoft's social networking site that was the foundation of Windows Live Spaces. The service went through several evolutions, and its purpose shifted from blogging, to social networking, to social sharing.

Last June, Microsoft's Tony East said "Although Spaces continues to be a popular blogging platform, fewer people are blogging in the traditional sense, and more people are just sharing. What do I mean? Most people don't want to take time to configure a blog or don't think they have enough to say to spend time writing and editing long posts (like this one!) but they do want to share short updates, photos, and cool links they come across on the web."

Today, Microsoft's Dharmesh Mehta said, "As we looked at customers' blogging needs, and what different companies were providing, we were particularly interested in what WordPress.com is doing. They have a host of impressive capabilities -- from a scalable platform and leading spam protection, to great personalization and customization. WordPress powers over 8.5% of the web, is used on over 26 million sites, and WordPress.com is seen by over 250 million people every month. Not only that, Automattic is a company filled with great people focused on improving blogging experiences. So 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."

If fewer people are blogging, as West said in June, then the partnership with WordPress is really a move to let the few people still using Live Spaces as a blog to have a powerful alternative. For users who are just content sharing, there are other Windows Live services for that.

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