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Microsoft Launches News App – But Do We Need Another One?

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When I think of MSN.com, I think of an antiquated website that is slow to load and has a lot of clickbait on its site, instead of real news.  But guess what?  It’s still around!  In fact, Microsoft is trying to bring it back by launching its mobile app under a new name.  Now available for Android and iOS, you can get Microsofts mobile news app, which is known as – Microsoft News.  The app will bring you stories from the company’s MSN News effort, but with a modern new interface.  You’re not likely going to be surprised to find out that it will be similar to Apple and Google News.  But is this a good move for Microsoft?

The app will bring curated news from more than 1,000 publishers and 3,000 brands.  Microsoft says that they use artificial intelligence to scan more than 100,000 pieces of content each day and that they have over 800 human editors across the world in order to ensure that they’re delivering the top stories.  This effort by Microsoft will also bring you news on Microsoft Edge, which is the News app in Windows 10, Skype, Xbox, and Outlook.com.  It’s because of this, that your news preferences will automatically be synced across any device that you’re using.

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When it comes to the app, the interface itself is simple enough to navigate.  Initially, you’ll be asked to indicate your interests so that the app can find you the news that you want to read.  Once this step has completed, you’ll be able to browse through stories that have been sorted into the categories that you’ve selected.  The great thing about this app is that there is a section for local news.  However, the interface for the local coverage appears to be slightly different than the other news that you’re given.

As far as the other features go, it seems similar to other popular apps.  You can choose between a light and a dark theme, and opt-in to get notifications for breaking news stories.  How does this benefit publishers? Microsoft says it supports publishers by offering them channels to earn revenue, but they don’t explain exactly how that works.

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I asked the question earlier in this post as to whether or not this is a good move for Microsoft?  While I’m sure their revenue numbers say otherwise, I think they’re kind of a stale company.  By that, I mean they’re not pumping out new things every 6 months or year, the way that Apple or Google does.  I also don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad thing for Microsoft.  That said, I’m not sure that they should be getting into the News business.  I think there are far too many news apps available, and, as a consumer, I don’t think we need another one.

Maybe this is good for Microsoft as it allows them to launch a “new” (or redeveloped) product, but I’m not convinced that this is what the world needs.  Skype, for example, was a big hit until FaceTime came along.  We still need Microsoft to fill in some gaps, but I don’t think this is one of them.

 

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