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MSN Direct Going Offline in 2012


If you are one of the believers that the world will end in 2012, I’ve got some bad news for you, you’re wrong. 🙂 But if you believed that your “lifetime” traffic service from MSN Direct might not actually last your lifetime– you would be right. Microsoft has announced that they will be discontinuing their MSN Direct service on January 1, 2012.

MSN Direct is most popular on many Garmin Nuvi devices, although it is found on other GPS devices as well. It provides traffic services, weather data, fuel prices, stock updates, news, and other information based on the capabilities of the device. Microsoft has given us a glimpse into why they decided to close down the service.

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.

Thankfully, you’ve got a couple of years to line up an alternative.

12 Responses

  1. Between this, Plays4Sure and everything else why trust any Microsoft offering anymore?

    Scott G. Lewis - October 26th, 2009
  2. On its FAQ about the shut down of MSN Direct in 14 months from now, Microsoft recommends contacting one’s device vendor about returning the device.

    People who naively adopted Microsoft as a technology partner have seen PlaysForSure, MSN Direct and HD-DVD, technologies strongly advocated by Microsoft, all abandoned.

    Xavier Itzmann - October 26th, 2009
  3. Personally, I think any company that offers for sale a lifetime anything should not be able to discontinue it expect for the death of the purchaser or the company. In this case, Microsoft should have to declare bankruptcy or indefinitely fund the customer’s use of another service,

    patruns - October 27th, 2009
    • I recall the “fine print” of the MSN Direct Lifetime subscription said “service not guaranteed after January 1, 2012”.

      Tim - October 27th, 2009
      • Ahhh yes, what the lord Microsoft givith the fine print taketh away….

        patruns - October 27th, 2009
        • 🙂

          Tim - October 27th, 2009
    • It’s highly unusual for any company to give a two year + heads up that a service is being discontinued. Kudos for the early announcement in any case.

      gatorguy - November 5th, 2009
  4. It figures. Microsoft (always the greedy behemoth) got the revenue from the GPS makers that built the cost of the MSN service into their pricing structure. Now they decide it isn’t enough. Perhaps they decided up front that this was an experimental revenue program and always included the statement Service not guaranteed after 1/1/2012. If so, this is a class action lawsuit waiting to happen. I don’t call 3-4 years a lifetime, unless you are a hamster.

    Kevin - May 22nd, 2010
  5. I bought my GPS device because of the lifetime traffic.

    Is it not fraud to sell a product and then make the device useless for the reason it was bought?

    John - October 22nd, 2010
    • Their terms and conditions stated the service wasn’t guaranteed past that date, so it doesn’t likely meet the legal definition of “fraud”. I’m not saying it isn’t perhaps a poor choice– but it doesn’t seem like it will pass as fraud either.

      Tim - October 25th, 2010
  6. I would love to see an after market product that would connect to my internet service and have it broadcast the same information, to reactive my weather stations again.

    Phil - January 5th, 2012
  7. I am heartbroken about my NUVI that now has only one function…… is this what I paid $600+ for????? If I had known I wouldn’t have purchased this unit that is now for all intense perposes —- almost worthless. I bought it for it’s extra capabilities and now Microsoft should compensate me for the loss in value that apparently they were planning based on the info I just read about the January 1, 2012 disclaimer……. I hope someone starts a class action lawsuit to teach them a lesson !

    Louise - January 10th, 2012

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