Originating publication
January 12, 1998, Issue: 771
Section: News

MSN lacks company logo -- Microsoft Network, Windows NT Remain Incompatible
The Microsoft Network has a little-known hitch: It cannot run on Windows NT, the CRN Test Center has found.

Microsoft's newly released and highly acclaimed BackOffice Small Business Server, which runs atop Windows NT, cannot take advantage of MSN for Internet access without establishing a connection with another ISP first.

Microsoft representatives said they would like to support NT, but it has not been a priority in the two -and-a-half years since the online service was introduced.

"The audience for MSN is not the businessperson, not even the small-office/home-office businessperson," said Ed Graczyk, lead product manager for MSN. "We provide access to the Internet, great E-mail, content, Expedia and Investor and computing support. We are a consumer online service."

Graczyk declined to specify the technical difficulty in supporting Windows NT, except to say it boiled down to business priorities.

But, while MSN is positioned as a consumer product, the company offers a $49.95 ISDN account, a move typically geared to sophisticated users.

In the last month, the company released MSN version 2.5, which still does not run on NT, but includes a dialog box suggesting that support may be forthcoming in the future.

The lack of Windows NT support, even NT Workstation support, means MSN cannot carry the Designed for Windows 95 logo. Products meeting the logo standard must operate under both the consumer-oriented Windows 95 and business-focused Windows NT. While most of those products are from third parties, several Microsoft products also carry the insignia, including the Microsoft Mouse, Internet Explorer Plus, Office 95 and Encarta 97. MSN does not carry the logo.

MSN has been plagued with setbacks since its August 1995 launch. Subscribers have had repeated difficulties accessing the network, and it has undergone several content revisions, and staff and fee structure changes.