Xtra's decision to scrap its 1MB websites for customers wasn't made lightly, says spokesperson Matt Bostwick, but he adds that the XtraMSN Community websites offer far more functionality as well as 30MB of space.
"We wanted a better product than what we had. It was a 1MB limit and three pages maximum. It was bottom-end-of-the-scale and there was no improvement plan in place," says Bostwick who says the lack of development path meant Xtra had been looking for an alternative and found it in the XtraMSN alliance.
"The new MSN product is a better product. When you create a website on MSN you're linked into the MSN Communities."
Each website can have up to 30MB of space.
Applications included in that are chat, instant messaging and the usual MSN products.However Xtra won't be dropping its XtraMail service any time soon, says Bostwick.
"Hotmail is a product anyone can use, XtraMail is a service specific to Xtra customers."
He says there are no plans to discontinue the service in the foreseeable future. Some users are less than happy about the move because to access MSN products, users must sign up for Microsoft Passport. Passport is Microsoft's "single sign-in" service which allows users to enter their ID information and store it securely.
Microsoft is requiring users to have a Passport account before using things like MSN or receiving updates to software. Microsoft intends to build a new service called Hailstorm that will incorporate Passport and become integral to Microsoft's new .Net strategy.