Microsoft SoapBox Just Launched

The best way to hear about new Microsoft product launches these days is to read their employees’ blogs. First we had Stuart Padley’s quickly deleted blog post with some additional information about the upcoming Microsoft Live Drive.

Tonight we hear that Soapbox, a YouTube-like user uploaded video product that we first heard about two weeks ago, may launch as soon as tomorrow. The news comes from Kurt Shintaku via his blog.

There are a few details. The beta signup page says users will “be able to upload your own videos, watch those made by other contributors, post comments on what you’ve seen, and much more.” Om Malik says, via a commenter, that “Soapbox autodetects your browser + platform and streams WM for IE/Windows users, but Flash for Firefox/Windows and Firefox+Safari on Mac.” LiveSide says videos up to 100 MB in size can be uploaded in AVI, ASF, WMV, MOV, MPEG 1/2/4, 3GPP, DV file formats.

Whatever they launch, it should be interesting. Deep integration with Live Spaces, a huge blogging platform, will in itself drive a lot of usage.

Update: The press release has just been put up on Microsoft. Very little new information. We are trying to get a beta account to do a full review.