Job cuts at MSN Direct

Job cuts at MSN Direct
Last week Microsoft announced 3,000 job cuts. MSN Direct, which offers real-time services such as traffic, weather and gas price to Personal Navigation Devices via the FM bandwidth, is part of the impacted groups. However, the Redmond company is not closing down this business unit, only reducing its staff.

Microsoft published a statement on this topic, saying: “While the team was impacted by the recent job eliminations, the company will maintain the current MSN Direct service. Customers will continue to receive support as it is available today. We will focus on developing low cost receiver technology for the PND market and mobile phones.”

At this stage no more detail was available from Microsoft. The exact number of staff laid off at MSN Direct is unknown.

Today MSN Direct is available with several models from Garmin (including the AVIS branded Where2), as well as some PNDs from Alpine, Pioneer and Nextar.

In one hand the little success of connected PNDs in the United States has been good for MSN Direct, but in the other hand the development of HD Radio - offering the same sort of location-based services to PND manufacturers - is competing directly with MSN Direct. This is especially the case for the HD Radio services offered by NAVTEQ which will be sponsored by advertising.

For MSN Direct the future might be to drastically change its business from a subscription into an advertising-funded model.

Tuesday, May 12th 2009

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