Microsoft launches MSN Soapbox to compete with YouTube

September 19, 2006

News:  Microsoft launched its beta version of its video sharing software called Soapbox.  It’s not completely open to the public, though: you have to sign up to receive a special invite for a private test.  The full public launch apparently may be months away.

Analysis:  Just another sign how hot the video file sharing industry is right now.  Microsoft seems a little late to the game, again having to play catch-up.  Bill Gates is a genius, but when’s no longer in charge of the day-to-day operations, things seem different for Microsoft. 

U.S. government joins YouTube bandwagon

September 19, 2006

News: The U.S. government just announced that it will be using YouTube to distribute anti-drug videos in its campaign against drug use, especially by teenagers.  John Walters, Bush’s top drug official, said. “Public institutions must adapt to meet the realities of these promising technologies.” (More from Wash Post)

Analysis: This is another sign of the growing popularity of YouTube among legitimate providers of content.  Having the U.S. government use YouTube is absolutely huge, in terms of the legitimacy of the company.  It also makes sense to try to reach teenagers through YouTube, since many spend their time surfing through videos.  One thing that has set YouTube apart from the typical website is that the average user spends a significant amount of Internet time on YouTube.