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MSN (stylized in all uppercase, meaning Microsoft Network) is a web portal and related collection of Internet services and apps for Windows and mobile devices, provided by Microsoft and launched on August 24, 1995, the same release date as Windows 95.[3]

The Microsoft Network was initially a subscription-based dial-up online service that later became an Internet service provider named MSN Dial-up. At the same time, the company launched a new web portal named Microsoft Internet Start and set it as the first default home page of Internet Explorer, its web browser. In 1998, Microsoft renamed and moved this web portal to the domain name www.msn.com, where it has remained.[4]

In addition to its original MSN Dial-up service, Microsoft has used the 'MSN' brand name for a wide variety of products and services over the years, notably Hotmail (later Outlook.com), Messenger (which was once synonymous with 'MSN' in Internet slang and has now been replaced by Skype), and its web search engine, which is now Bing, and several other rebranded and discontinued services.

The current website and suite of apps offered by MSN was first introduced by Microsoft in 2014 as part of a complete redesign and relaunch.[5] MSN is based in the United States and offers international versions of its portal for dozens of countries around the world.[6]

Microsoft News (previously named MSN News and Bing News) is a news aggregator and service that features news headlines and articles chosen by editors. The app includes sections for top stories, U.S., world, politics, money, technology, entertainment, opinion, sports, and crime, along with other miscellaneous stories. It allows users to set their own favorite topics and sources, receive notifications of breaking news though alerts, filter preferred news sources, and alter font sizes to make articles easier to read.[37]

Originally, News included an RSS feed, but that capability was removed; Microsoft currently only allows users to subscribe to specified news sources.[38] News uses the chaseable live tile feature introduced in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. If a user clicks on the News Start menu tile when a particular story is shown, the user will see a link to that story

Microsoft launched these apps along with the 2014 redesign of the MSN web portal, rebranding many of the Bing apps that originally shipped with Windows and Windows Phone. News, Weather, Sports, Money, and Travel first shipped with Windows 8, while Health & Fitness and Food & Drink first appeared in Windows 8.1.[25][26] In December 2014, the apps became available across all the other major mobile device platforms as well: iOS, Android, and Fire OS.[27][28][29][30][31]

The apps allow users some, but not total, control of which sources provide information. Each app has its own color code that is used on the live tile and internally. Originally, each app brought a unified experience with the MSN website and synchronized preferences across devices; for example, setting a list of stocks to watch on MSN.com would show the same data on the MSN Money app on all devices where the user was signed in with a Microsoft account. The synchronization was dropped when the apps were rebuilt for Windows 10.

There are currently four apps in the suite: News, Weather, Sports, and Money.[32] In July 2015, Microsoft announced the discontinuation of the Food & Drink, Health & Fitness, and Travel apps on all platforms, and that they will not be bundled with Windows 10; those three apps are no longer offered.[33]

After Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone division, Microsoft also started bundling MSN services with its Nokia-branded feature phones, though the only supported model was the Nokia 215.[34][35][36] In addition to these apps, Microsoft developed a separate set of mobile apps specifically for MSN China.

Microsoft News (previously named MSN News and Bing News) is a news aggregator and service that features news headlines and articles chosen by editors. The app includes sections for top stories, U.S., world, politics, money, technology, entertainment, opinion, sports, and crime, along with other miscellaneous stories. It allows users to set their own favorite topics and sources, receive notifications of breaking news though alerts, filter preferred news sources, and alter font sizes to make articles easier to read.[37]

Originally, News included an RSS feed, but that capability was removed; Microsoft currently only allows users to subscribe to specified news sources.[38] News uses the chaseable live tile feature introduced in the Windows 10 Anniversary UpdateOriginally, News included an RSS feed, but that capability was removed; Microsoft currently only allows users to subscribe to specified news sources.[38] News uses the chaseable live tile feature introduced in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. If a user clicks on the News Start menu tile when a particular story is shown, the user will see a link to that story at the top of the app when it launches.[39]

MSN Weather (originally named Bing Weather) shows weather from a user's current location or any other location worldwide, and it allows users to define their favorite places, which will synchronize back to the web portal and across devices. Users can pin Weather tiles to the Start menu to see local weather conditions from multiple locations at a glance. It also offers satellite maps and has information regarding ski resorts.[40] The app receives its weather conditions and forecasts from a variety of sources internationally.[41] Weather uses weather conditions as the background, making it the only app that does not have a light/dark switch in Windows 10. Weather is not available for iOS; however, it comes preinstalled on the Nokia 215 phone from Microsoft Mobile that runs Series 30+; it is currently the only feature phone to have the app built-in.[36]

Sports

MSN Sports (originally named Bing Sports) displays various sports scores and standings from hundreds of leagues around the world, as well as aggregating sports-related articles and news headlines.[42][43][44][45] Sports also allows the user to view slideshows and photo galleries, look up information about individual players and fantasy leagues, and set and track their favorite teams by selecting various topics from the hamburger menu.[46][47] It also powers various predictive features within Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant.[48]

Money

MSN Money (originally named Bing Finance) allows users to set up lists of stocks to watch, follow certain corporations and receive stock updates, get the latest headlines regarding stock markets, view real-time trading figures with a 30-minute delay, track their own personal finances, calculate mortgages, get information on commodities and bonds, and convert currency.[49][50][51]

Discontinued apps

MSN Health & Fitness (originally named Bing Health & Fitness) allowed users to track their intake of calories, look up nutritional information for hundreds of thousands of different foods, use a built-in calories, look up nutritional information for hundreds of thousands of different foods, use a built-in GPS tracker, view step-by-step workouts and exercises with images and videos, check symptoms for various health conditions, and synchronize their health data to third-party devices such as activity trackers.[55][56][57] MSN Health & Fitness formerly connected data with the Microsoft HealthVault, but it started using a Microsoft account with MSN's own cloud service to synchronize data when it was rebranded from Bing to MSN.[58][59] The app is not related in any way to Microsoft's Xbox Fitness or Microsoft Health (the companion app for the Microsoft Band), despite being similar in function.[60]

Travel

MSN Travel (originally named Bing Travel) was a travel search engine that allows users to book hotels and flights, aggregates travel-related headlines, and offers detailed information about thousands of travel destinations.[61] Data in the app is powered by various travel websites, including Expedia, formerly owned by Microsoft.[62] Other features include finding information on local restaurants, viewing pictures (including panoramas) and historical data about destinations, and reading reviews by previous travelers.[63] If the user is signed in, Cortana can track flights and get hotel information through the app.[64] MSN Travel was the only app in the suite that was exclusive to Windows. The app was discontinued in September 2015 but can still be accessed via the web.[65]

Previously, Microsoft had acquired Farecast in 2008, a website in the computer reservations system industry that offered predictions regarding the best time to purchase airl

Previously, Microsoft had acquired Farecast in 2008, a website in the computer reservations system industry that offered predictions regarding the best time to purchase airline tickets.[66] Farecast was founded in 2003 and collected over 175 billion airfare observations by 2007.[67] Farecast's team of data miners used these airfare observations to build algorithms to predict future airfare price movements.[68] Microsoft integrated it as part of its Live Search group of tools in May 2008 as Live Search Farecast; Microsoft rebranded it as Bing Travel on June 3, 2009, as part of its efforts to create a new search identity.[69] In 2009, there were allegations that Bing Travel had copied its layouts from Kayak.com; Microsoft denied the allegations.[70] By January 2013, Bing Travel results were powered by Kayak.com. As of January 2014, the fare prediction feature had been removed. As of May 2015, Microsoft rebranded the service to MSN Travel.[71] In August 2015, MSN Travel flight search pages changed from being powered by Kayak.com to its competitor Skyscanner.

Microsoft first offered content from its MSN web portal on mobile devices in the early 2000s, through a service it called Pocket MSN (in line with its Pocket PC products of the era) and later renamed MSN Mobile. The original MSN Mobile software was preloaded on many cell phones and PDAs, and usually provided access to legacy MSN services like blogs (MSN Spaces), email (Hotmail), instant messaging (MSN Messenger), and web search (now called Bing). Some wireless carriers charged a premium to access it.[citation needed] As many former MSN properties were spun off to Bing, Windows Live, and other successors in late 2000s, the Microsoft Mobile Services division took over the development of mobile apps related to those services.

In the meantime, Microsoft's MSN apps took on a more content-related focus, as did the web portal itself. Previous versions of MSN apps that were bundled with Windows Mobile and early versions of Windows Phon

In the meantime, Microsoft's MSN apps took on a more content-related focus, as did the web portal itself. Previous versions of MSN apps that were bundled with Windows Mobile and early versions of Windows Phone,[72] as well as MSN apps for Android and iOS devices in the early 2010s, were primarily repositories for news articles found on MSN.com.[73][74][75] Other earlier MSN mobile apps included versions of MSN Weather and MSN Money for Windows Mobile 6.5,[76][77][78] and 'MSN Money Stocks' and a men's magazine called 'MSN OnIt' for Windows Phone 7.[79][80]

Microsoft's world headquarters is in the United States, so the main MSN website is based there. However, MSN has offered various international versions of its portal since its inception in 1995 for dozens of countries around the world.[6] A list of international MSN affiliates is available at MSN Worldwide.[81]

Following the redesign and relaunch of the MSN web portal in 2014, most international MSN websites share the same layout as the U.S. website and are largely indistinguishable from it, aside from their content. There were two exceptions: ninemsnFollowing the redesign and relaunch of the MSN web portal in 2014, most international MSN websites share the same layout as the U.S. website and are largely indistinguishable from it, aside from their content. There were two exceptions: ninemsn, a longtime partnership between Microsoft and the Nine Network in Australia that launched in 1997 (Microsoft sold its stake in the venture and 2013 and ended its co-branding with Nine in 2016);[82] and MSN China, an entirely customized version of MSN for China (Microsoft discontinued the portal in 2016, replacing it with a page that links to a number of other Chinese websites).[83]