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MSN8 Challenges AOL8

Techstination feature for Thursday, October 24, 2002

Microsoft vs AOL... .a new round begins. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. A week after America Online released AOL 8.0... ..Microsoft is out with MSN 8.0... ..hoping to win subscribers away. MSN has added some impressive new parental and email controls... .and remains a couple of dollars a month cheaper than AOL. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tells us he thinks MSN... with just about a quarter of AOL's 35 million subscribers... .can gain ground... .

"We have better software, better service, better customer experience. That doesn't mean we're going to convert all of those ump ditty ump millions of AOL customers overnight, but I think our proposition just gets relatively more and more attractive."

Microsoft plans a 300 million dollar advertising and marketing push for MSN 8. AOL vice chairman Ted Leonsis says AOL is re-emphasizing the community aspects of its service to try to retain customers and grow. About the threat from Microsoft he says...

"We don't really look at what Microsoft's doing. We're more concerned with what we do and our members. But if you just look at the history... since 2000 they've spent a billion dollars in trying to get members for Microsoft and in that same period of time we've added 8 million customers. So if we just stick to our knitting... do well... we have such a big audience, you know our customers are happy, we think we can continue to grow."

But there is little doubt that MSN is now more of a threat to AOL than ever before. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.