Microsoft to shutter MSN TV, 16 years after it launched as WebTV

After over 16 years, Microsoft (s MSFT) is shutting down MSN TV, the set-top box technology it acquired as WebTV for $425 million in 1997 and rebranded as MSN TV in 2001. The service, cofounded by Steve Perlman as WebTV in 1996, allowed users to surf the internet from their televisions.
MSN TV’s last day will be September 30, AllThingsD reported Sunday. On its website, Microsoft explained why it’s shutting MSN TV down:

“WebTV (later called MSN TV) started in 1996 with the goal to bring new people ‘online’ and to give those already online an easy, hassle-free means of accessing the internet from the comfort of their homes. Later, MSN TV 2 was released with vastly greater power and features. Since then, the web has continued to evolve at a breathtaking pace, and there are many new ways to access the internet.”

Microsoft said it will offer free dial-up internet to paying MSN TV subscribers and free broadband internet through MSN Premium for paying MSN TV 2  subscribers from July 1 to December 31.