Home > Computers and Internet > MSN QnA Beta is closing on May 21st

MSN QnA Beta is closing on May 21st

11-May-09 09:00 pm EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

don’t know about the rest of you, but I get irked when Microsoft does stuff like this:

QnA.live.com was Microsoft’s answer to Yahoo’s Answers service – a sort of generic questions-and-answers forum site where users could get answers on questions on any topic that comes to mind, although in cases where other forums were more devoted to the purpose of answering questions on specific issues (e.g.. technology questions) the asker would be referred to those specific forums by topic moderators.

In any event, Microsoft has decided the beta is over.  And, in this case, has decided to simply shut down the service without apparent cause.  Several possibilities occur:

  • Microsoft is worried about QnA distracting focus on support issues from the aforementioned devoted technical forums (e.g.. MSDN and TechNet forums)
  • Another as-yet unannounced product release will address demand for this type of service (unlikely)
  • Microsoft’s talks with Yahoo may be bearing additional fruit in the near future – perhaps procurement of certain web properties, like Yahoo! Answers

There may be other scenarios which didn’t occur to me, of course.  But I could scarcely imagine one that would make QnA’s closure a sensible act.  At minimum, QnA didn’t seem to be drawing fewer visitors than say, I dunno, the msn.com homepage.  Maybe this is one of the reasons Microsoft’s Internet division has consistently underperformed all the others year after year.

Whatever views Microsoft’s most ardent critics espouse, most will concede the company is results-oriented.  And, sooner or later, MSN and the Internet division need to join the rest of the company posting results in the black.  At the very least, it doesn’t seem likely there’d be too much damage disclosing any intention to continue the QnA service in another form notwithstanding the absence of such a plan.  Left with taking the QnA closure notice at face value, one can only draw the conclusion that MSN is some ways away from figuring out how to convert red ink to black.  That’s unfortunate; both for QnA and its growing user base.

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