Microsoft Buys Vizrea

The Seattle Times: Brier Dudley’s blog

“Could this property be being built on the side to give Microsoft the photo sharing property that is still missing and Media Center lacks? One of the executives heading up the effort is Mike Toutonghi who is credited by the Seattle Times as having previously started the Microsoft eHome division, which created Media Center for Microsoft.”

Remember when Thomas Hawk speculated back in February of 2006 that Microsoft might eventually buy Vizrea to give them the jump start that they need into the photo sharing space?

Well here you go. Looks like Microsoft just bought Vizrea (now renamed WebFives). It’s a good start towards their photo and video sharing initiative. What Microsoft needs to understand most of all though (which has made Flickr the success that it is) is the social side of photo sharing. If they can get this part down they may stand a chance.

One big advantage that Microsoft stands to exploit in the photo sharing space of course is their Media Center platform which now ships with every copy of Vista. Increasingly as Media Center PCs become embedded in the living rooms of the world they will need content on them to most fulfill their potential. Integrating the power of a social photosharing site to distill high quality photography with the display potential of Media Center PCs is a potential winning strategy.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting purchase but I’m having a hard time understanding why they seem to be totally screwing their existing user base. According to the WebFives homepage, they are “turning off” the service at the end of the year and existing users are encouraged to re-download their own content if they want to keep it. Sure no problem if you’ve only uploaded a video or two or a handful of pictures but a huge deal if someone has invested a lot of time or energy in uploading a lot of content. Can you imagine if Flickr told everyone that all their uploaded photos would be deleted as a result of the Yahoo purchase? I’m sure glad I never used Webfives…

  2. Spencer says:

    As I understand, the Media Center niceties only come on Vista Home Premium and Ultimate–not Home Basic or Business. Not quite shipping with “every copy.”