MSN’s mercy killing

Obviously you've already heard about MSN's decision to close its chatrooms. What a stupid and yet brilliant idea.

I don't even need to bother attacking the ridiculous logic behind the claim it will protect children. It won't. But I am utterly in awe of the business thinking behind it. In short, they not only get to drop a loss-making service that had no hope of ever generating revenue, but they also do this while maintaining a fantastic PR front. The Internet market has shifted substantially over the last five years: families are the target now - the techies have been connected for years. Now MSN have seized this market in a way other ISPs will struggle to catch up with.

Game, set and match. It's also got another interesting side in that it's the first example of a truly major Internet service moving to a fee-paying structure. This has been happening for small applications for years, but this takes it to a whole new level. The gift economy of the Internet is, sadly, dying. MSN have decided to make it a mercy killing.

Cennydd Bowles