Microsoft May Be Readying A New Service Called Sway

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A day after news that Apple has turned on its own content delivery network, it has emerged that Microsoft has registered some domain names that use the term CDN — pointing either to Redmond also readying some kind of new CDN service, or possibly a service that will be based around a CDN.

Jamie Zoch at Dot Weekly has discovered that Microsoft has registered the Sway.com domain, along with several variations that point to what Sway could be used for. They include sway-CDN.com, sway-CDN.net, sway-INT.com and sway-INT.net. All of these, including Sway.com, currently redirect to Bing pages with search results for the terms.

Along with this, Microsoft has registered a trademark for “Sway” with a fairly wide brief, covering computer software; computer application software; online computer software and software as a service.

We have reached out to Microsoft for comment, but the company says it cannot answer any questions with a fast turnaround today (hello, August). “I’ve connected with my colleagues and we’re unable to meet the tight deadline on a Friday afternoon,” a spokesperson told me by email. In other words, no comment.

There are a few guesses for what might be behind this.

First, there is the example set by the likes of Apple and Netflix to move content on to their own CDN services and away from those provided by third parties to improve content streaming to improve and better control the quality of service.

As Dan Rayburn, an EVP at Streaming Media, put it when describing Apple’s move to turn on CDN services, “While Apple doesn’t own the last mile, paying to connect directly to it (in some places) and delivering content from their own servers allows them much more control over the user experience, especially for cloud based services. Over time, this is something that will make the experience and performance for consumers even better – and Apple’s only just getting started.”

All fine and well, but problem with this is that it doesn’t quite make sense to apply this concept to Microsoft: the company already has its own CDN services, described by Rayburn even as a model for what Apple may be going for in its own CDN roll out. Microsoft even already offers this as a service to third-party developers, via its Azure platform.

That brings us to another guess: perhaps Microsoft is planning a new marketing push — to “sway”, so to speak, more developers to its platform and away from the likes of Amazon — which has its own CDN service, CloudFront.

A third option might be that there is actually a new class of streaming service in the works. Coincidentally, I came across a call today for Microsoft to launch a streaming gameplay service. When it comes to gaming and streaming, Twitch is currently embedded in Xbox, but with a $1 billion acquisition of Twitch by Google all but confirmed, perhaps this is leading Microsoft to rethinking what it’s doing here.

Whatever the product may be, whether it will ultimately be called “Sway” is another matter. Recall that Bing was referred to as Kumo in internal tests before its official launch. (Ironically, Kumo today looks like it will be a content delivery network of another sort — a startup of the same name, still in stealth, is raising big money to “break the TV bundle,” as Jordan put it.)

Featured Image: ToddABishop/Flickr UNDER A CC by 2.0 LICENSE (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)