Microsoft Prepares to Pull the Plug on MSN TV

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Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) has revealed it will shut down its interactive TV service MSN TV — formally known as WebTV — in September, eliminating competition for other over-the-top set-top box providers like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) TV and Roku.

Introduced in the mid-1990s, WebTV was one of the first set-top box services to offer Internet access via television. Microsoft revealed its intention to cut the service in a post on its website and via an email to its users.

“WebTV, later called MSN TV, started in 1996 with the goal to bring new people ‘online’ and to give those already online an easy, hassle-free means of accessing the Internet from the comfort of their homes,” Microsoft posted on its website. “Later, MSN TV 2 was released with vastly greater power and features. Since then, the web has continued to evolve at a breathtaking pace, and there are many new ways to access the Internet. Accordingly, we have made the difficult decision to end the MSN TV service on September 30, 2013. We are working with our customers to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible.”