5 August 2004 Microsoft has announced that it will launch a web logging service in Japan as a first step towards accelerating the adoption of web logging as a business tool.
A web log, or ‘blog’, is a type of web site that uses an online journal to convey information. Until recently, blogs have served as interfaces for product reviews or personal ramblings in the public domain.
In May, Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, said that the manner in which blogs are used and distributed could be adopted as business communication tools. Microsoft will commence a trial service on 10 August with a Japanese content provider, TOS. Should the trial be successful, an official launch will be held later this year. Microsoft may then look to launch the system in the US and Europe.
The new web log service, says Microsoft, is differentiated from rival blogs because it will enable mobile access. According to Japan’s Telecommunications Ministry, the country was an obvious choice for testing the product because 90% of mobile phones in Japan have Internet capability and wired or wireless Internet access – making it one of the most web-enabled nations in the world.
Microsoft corporate vice president Susumu Furukawa said blog usage in the workplace will be spurred on not only by individual users but also by corporate clients aiming to boost efficiency in internal as well as external communications.
Web logs are easier to publish and update than regular web sites which, in corporate terms, translates to a company president being able to communicate with shareholders, clients, investors and employees more quickly and effectively.
The new service will initially be free. However, Microsoft may charge a fee for additional web log services, such as expanded capacity to hold large content.