Goodbye SPOT; Lessons Learned

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 14 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

In between studying today (and by “today”, I still mean Friday), I called up MSN and canceled my MSN Direct service for my SPOT watch. Why? I wasn’t using like I used to.

One of the main reasons I got the watch was so I could schedule events in Outlook, have them beamed to my watch, and then not forget them. But once I ditched Outlook, it became harder to do this. I ended up using Outlook exclusively for calendaring and Thunderbird for email. Then I started Beta testing Outlook 2007 earlier in the year. The plugin for Outlook wouldn’t work with the Beta. Around the same time, I started using 30 Boxes. I jury rigged a string of programs on my server to get data to my watch. Finally, I switched over to Google Calendars. With GCal, I was able to send the messages straight to my phone. This was easier and more reliable then my jury rigged solution.

But all of this could have been prevented. How? API.

If Microsoft had an API for the SPOT so that others could write plugins, I would probably still be using my SPOT watch. But in typical Microsoft fashion, the elected to keep SPOT all to themselves. In doing so, they actually hurt their potential user base.

How? Let’s take a look at three examples. In the first example, Bob uses Outlook for his email and scheduling needs. Bob would like to be alerted to appointments he has, so he signs up for MSN Direct and all is good in Bob’s world.

John currently uses Thunderbird, but he’s used Outlook before and wouldn’t mind going back to Outlook so he can use MSN Direct to receive calendar alerts.

Andrew doesn’t like using Outlook for various reasons, but he like getting alerts. If Microsoft had an API for MSN Direct, Andrew could write a script that would send data to his SPOT watch. Andrew would be happy, Microsoft would gain another customer and earn Andrew’s $60. Since Microsoft doesn’t have an API though, they lose Andrew and his $60. If Andrew happens to be an Alpha buyer, they could also loose more potential customers.

[tags]msn direct, spot, watch, outlook, api, microsoft[/tags]