Microsoft recently updated its Xbox 360 dashboard. This is part of a move that brings Internet Explorer and other Windows 8-esque features over their popular gaming and multimedia console. Apparently they didn’t just giveth, they also taketh away.
What’s gone in this mandatory update? They are axing two useful – if not massively popular – features. Facebook and Twitter Xbox 360 apps are getting the boot. Why? Microsoft gives us an unclear “the move will allow Microsoft to streamline app functionality” response.
Possible translation: Twitter and Facebook are somewhat competition, let’s remove it in favor of our own stuff.
Of course, Microsoft doesn’t really have a social network persay. It does have chatting features and gamer tag sharing in Microsoft Xbox already though. These apps have been around for three long years, so it is somewhat strange to see them just disappear like this.
Microsoft says that you can always use IE9 for Xbox 360 in order to update Facebook and Twitter statuses. This can’t be about just promoting use of IE9, can it? Taking away all these extra social elements can be seen as a pretty big hit against Microsoft, which leads me to believe there has to be a bigger reason for why they are forcing this change.
With Xbox Live integration coming to play in Windows 8– could Microsoft be working on creating its own connected social network for Windows devices? There are already basic chat and gamertag page stuff on Xbox Live, but it wouldn’t be that hard to stretch into things like page-sharing and social features using a gamer tag. The service could also work with existing Skype and Messenger/LIVE user accounts.
Keep in mind this is pure speculation, but it could make sense. With Google and Microsoft coming head to head on things like cloud productivity (Office 365/Google Docs), cloud storage, operating systems, search– could Microsoft want to bite into the growing Google Plus initative as well?
There is a good chance I’m reading too much into this. Still, Google’s appearance in social, cloud and everything in-between makes the Android experience all the more appealing. If Microsoft wants to knock Android out of the park, it needs to have competitive and comparable services. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer has already stated they are a services and hardware company too, so why not?
Would you be interested in an Xbox Live-based Social Network or do you already feel that the social networking market is overcrowded with options already?
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