Microsoft has confirmed today that it plans to close its' video service, MSN Soapbox on August 31.
Only last month, the company announced they were planning to scale back Soapbox and transform it from an also-ran in the user-generated content space into a forum where bloggers and citizen journalists can post videos.
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Neowin that "on August 31, 2009, MSN will no longer offer MSN Soapbox. Beginning on July 29, customers will no longer be able to upload videos to Soapbox and we encourage any Soapbox user that wants to keep their videos to download them off of Soapbox prior to August 31. We will be communicating to our valued Soapbox community using several different methods to ensure that people are able to keep any video that is important to them."
According to the company MSN Video has 88M unique users around the world, who watch 480M video streams each month. Online video will remain a key part of the MSN offering. With rumours of Microsoft launching a streaming music service this month, the company could be scaling back services that aren't as popular as their rivals to make way for future services. Soapbox was intended as a competitor to YouTube but never reached the popularity level that its rival achieved.
Soapbox originally launched as a beta service in late September 2006. Microsoft officially launched a public beta in late February 2007. Soapbox was given the MSN branding during a time the company seemed confused whether to name its web services "Live" or MSN.
Soapbox joins Popfly and Microsoft Money in Microsoft's recent cut backs.