Pour one out for MSN Messenger, Zune, and more: Microsoft Graveyard gives a salute to the tech giants’ retired creations

Microsoft is an old (in tech terms, at least) company – and a very successful one at that, but not every product it makes is a success.

For every Windows 7, there's a Games for Windows Live. Every Microsoft Office, there's a Clippy.

To help people reminisce and revisit memories of Microsoft products gone by, a group of developers and tech enthusiasts has made an open-source site named Microsoft Graveyard

If that rings a bell, that’s probably because you may have come across Killed by Google, a similar website made by Cody Ogden, another developer and tech enthusiast, but for deprecated and discontinued Google products. Ogden made an analogous website for Microsoft products named Killed by Microsoft, and that heavily inspired the creation of the Microsoft Graveyard. 

Welcome to the (unofficial) Microsoft Graveyard

At Microsoft Graveyard, you can peruse the various products, services, apps, and other creations that Microsoft has launched and ended up ditching – both software and hardware. 

There’s plenty to reflect upon, as many people who have been using computing or mobile products for any portion of their lives have probably come across at least a couple of these. I know I have, and there’s also lots to learn about many of Microsoft’s attempts at innovation through the years (Microsoft Graveyard’s entries are in chronological order). 

The unofficial archive of discontinued Microsoft products was made by Victor Frye and a community of Microsoft enthusiasts, launching last week. The group calls the website “a passion project built because we have lovingly used many of these products before their untimely death.” You can read about products like MSN Messenger, Kinect, and many more. MSN Messenger (also known as Live Messenger) was a cross-platform instant messaging (IM) program used by many kids who grew up at the early stages of the internet as we now know it, and Kinect was a motion sensing gaming controller that was killed off just last year.

Go down memory lane for yourself to read about things like Windows Phone, Zune, the recently “deceased” Cortana, Clippy, and many more. Each entry is headed up with the name of the product, which links to a page where you can find more detail about it (sometimes a Wikipedia page). That followed the product’s lifespan and a paragraph description of the product. 


(Image credit: Microsoft)

Go and see it for yourself, maybe even get involved

When you visit the website, you might notice that the first handful of entries are dated into the future and the icons are coffins instead of gravestones. That’s to indicate the Microsoft products that will be joining the rest of the discontinued “dead” products on the list in the near future. This includes products like Windows 10 (which still sees minor tweaks and updates), the Xbox 360 Store, and others. 

If you’re intrigued, I’d urge you to check out Microsoft Graveyard for yourself. As it’s an open-source project on GitHub, you can actually join the fun of compiling, contributing to, and maintaining the website. You can also follow the project’s ongoing development and updates on Threads


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EU is one step closer to reining in Apple, Google and other tech giants

The European Union has laid out its plans for the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which will mainly target messaging apps to offer a better choice for users, and could have big repercussions for tech giants like Apple and Google.

According to the European Union, its regulators agreed on new rules to the act, such as targeting companies that have over 45 million users, and have a market cap value of $ 82 billion / £62 billion / AU$ 109 billion.

If these companies were to break a rule in the DMA, they could be fined up to 10% of their total worldwide turnover at that time, alongside an additional 20% if further rules are repeatedly broken.

If the DMA gets approved into law, companies will have to allow certain features so they can be allowed in the EU, such as giving users the right to uninstall default apps, or use their apps or services on other platforms, and more. But this could be the start of a slippery slope for Apple, Google, and other vendors.

Analysis: Heading into unforeseen territory

Users like choice when they choose to install apps on their new iPhone 13 Pro or Samsung S22 Ultra. You could arguably go as far back as to when Netscape was the only way to browse the web in the mid-90s, before Microsoft monopolized with Internet Explorer, thanks to the web browser being included by default with its then-popular Windows 95 operating system.

Lawmakers apparently don't want history to repeat itself with modern apps. Every day, many of us use WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and more to keep in touch with friends and family. 

But the political world has been getting nervous about this, especially with messaging apps which some governments fear are being used to co-ordinate illegal activity. The days of burner mobile phones being disposed of like in the TV show Breaking Bad are no more – apps are seemingly the new problem now.

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But the DMA act is not without its risks. Behind every app is a team who have a roadmap of features and bug fixes they aim to achieve over a certain period of time, and some of these apps are exclusive to the platform, such as Apple's iMessage, which is only available on macOS, iPadOS and iOS.

Opening these up for other platforms and apps would be counter-intuitive to Apple's goals of creating the whole app itself, and touting it as an exclusive perk for Apple's products. Companies may argue that by forcing them to make their services and apps available to devices outside of their tightly-controlled ecosystem, compatibility and quality issues could emerge, negatively impacting the user experience these companies have carefully worked on.

It could also make what were once simple tasks, such as paying for something via Apple Pay on an iPhone, a lot more complex if other payment options, such as rival Google Pay, have to be offered.

However, the DMA act isn't official just yet – companies can discuss the terms and agreements with the EU and go through due diligence, but the writing looks to be on the wall for users and companies, and the after-effects of this law could turn out to be a disadvantage for not just companies, but users as a whole.

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Tech giants ‘should pay’ for sharing user info

A new study has revealed that German Facebook users believe the social network should pay them $ 8 per month for sharing their contact information while US users would be content with just $ 3.50.

The study, titled “How Much is Privacy Worth Around the World and Across Platforms?”, was conducted by the Technology Policy Institute's (TPI) Jeffrey Prince and Scott Wallsten. It is the first study of its kind to attempt to quantify the value of online privacy and data.

TPI examined the habits of people in the US, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia and Argentina to compile its study in order to assess how much privacy is worth in each country.

The study also comes at time when consumers have become increasingly concerned over how tech giants and retailers have been collecting and monetizing their personal data.

The price of privacy

President and senior fellow at TPI, Scott Wallsten explained to Reuters how it is necessary to quantify the value of privacy before analyzing company's privacy policies, saying:

“Differences in how much people value privacy of different data types across countries suggests that people in some places may prefer weaker rules while people in other places might prefer stronger rules. Quantifying the value of privacy is necessary for conducting any analysis of proposed privacy policies.”

The study found that German users want to be paid more for letting technology companies share their personal data with third-parties than US consumers do. However, people in all the countries surveyed place the highest value on financial information, such as bank balances and biometric information, while location data is the least valuable.

According to the study, a technology platform would have to pay consumers $ 8.44 a month to share bank balance information, $ 7.56 to share fingerprint information, $ 6.05 to read someone's texts and $ 5.80 to share information on cash withdrawals. Surprisingly, survey participants want to be paid just $ 1.82 per month to share their location data.

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Via Reuters

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