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I’ll start this off by saying how much I like my current setup of Outlook + MSN Premium + Newsgator.  Together these products have changed how I go about my day.  I happen to think it’s pretty cool.

Today I got thinking, though, about how much cooler it could be.

Picture this:

Microsoft/MSN buys Newsgator.

Microsoft integrates Newsgator’s online services with MSN.  That is, the now free Newsgator Online Services become part of the free MSN/Hotmail package, and the premium services become part of MSN Premium.  Newsgator’s Media Center application becomes free for Media Center users.  The Newsgator Outlook application itself could be free for Outlook 2003 users (although some may say that’s too much to ask).

I’ve been imagining how seamless this all could be.  With MSN’s recent acquisition of Lookout – I think an Outlook 2003 “feature pack” including a new version of that and Newsgator would be superb.  Now you can use Outlook and MSN for your e-mail, calendar, and RSS feeds.  Better yet, you could make the whole thing interact with Windows Media Player 10 to provide a podcasting solution.  You could have your e-mail, calendar, and news all synchronized to whatever computer with Outlook that you want, AND have it all available in one handy web-based, um, “portal.” 

They could then go about adding some of these features to the next MSN client for Premium users.  Maybe make some of this stuff integrate nicely with the next version of IE – assuming we see such a thing before Longhorn.

In this way, I think that MSN could be very cool.  It could appeal to enthusiasts in ways it only sort of does now.  One thing I like to note about my setup is that, even though I have an MSN Premium account, I don’t have the MSN Premium client installed on any of my computers.  It’s a fine program, but it’s too much geared towards newbies and those who only use their computer on a very limited level.  I don’t have a problem with that… not at all.  But I think there’s a gap right now, especially where Microsoft is concerned, where we lack services for those that really want a “deeper” computing experience.  See my next entry for more on that.

Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 2:28 PM | Back to top

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