Microsoft surprised the tech world yesterday with the announcement that Live Spaces - the company's blog hosting platform - would be no more, and that all existing sites would be migrated across to Automattic's WordPress.com platform.
According to Microsoft's director of Windows Live product management, Dharmesh Mehta, the move - announced during the TechCrunch Disrupt conference - means that Windows Live users will get "a great blogging solution through WordPress.com
The deal between the two companies will see all Windows Live Spaces users given an easy method for transferring all their blog posts, comments and hosted media across to WordPress.com. With an estimated 30 million active users on Windows Live Spaces, that's a big win for WordPress in the market share stakes.
Microsoft and Automattic have also launched Messenger Connect, which allows blogs hosted on WordPress.com to link to Microsoft Messenger, alerting chat contacts when new content is posted.
If you're not a Windows Live Spaces user at the moment, you've missed you chance. Mehta explained that all new users will instead be forwarded to WordPress.com to set up their blog, while Windows Live Writer will make the move to using WordPress.com as the default blogging service with the launch of Windows Live Essentials 2011 later this year.
The deal between the two companies came as a surprise to many people at the conference, but it makes sense. WordPress, as both a self-hosted open-source platform and the hosted WordPress.com service, accounts for around 8.5 percent of all sites on the Internet - and the robust anti-spam systems and excellent community of theme designers and modders mean excellent customisation options that Microsoft would struggle to match on its own.
Do you think that the deal between Microsoft and Automattic makes sense, or is Microsoft merely admitting that it doesn't understand blogging quite as well as it thought? Share your thoughts over in the forums