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Microsoft pulls disaster comms service 'Vine'

13 Sep 10

Microsoft Vine was intended to be used to keep family and friends in touch with each other when regular communication methods fail in the event of a major accident or emergency. Think of it like Twitter for emergencies.

“The Microsoft Vine Beta connects you to the people and places you care about most, when it matters,” said Microsoft upon the beta's launch. “Stay in touch with family and friends, be informed when someone needs help. Get involved to create great communities. Use alerts, reports and your personal dashboard to stay in touch, informed and involved."

A message on the Vine website now reads, “Microsoft will discontinue the Microsoft Vine beta testing program as of October 11, 2010.”

A letter sent out to users of the invite-only beta explained, “The decision to discontinue future development of Microsoft Vine was not easily made. Multiple options were thoroughly explored and evaluated with rigor and in the end it was determined that Microsoft Vine is not sustainable as a standalone offering.”

Microsoft added, “The key learnings acquired over the past year from the Vine beta will be used to inform and strengthen future product concepts and offerings.”

The timing of the closure is a bit ironic, given that Microsoft has just donated $50k to the Red Cross Christchurch Earthquake Appeal.