Microsoft To Shut Down Disaster Communication Service Vine

It’s ironic that Microsoft chose the day before the anniversary of the 9/11 disaster to announce the shuttering of Vine – the service was built to help people in exactly those types of situations. We first wrote about Vine in April 2009 – it was an ambitious new service to help keep friends and family in touch during emergencies:

Vine is designed to keep family and friends in touch when other communication methods are either broken or not particularly efficient. Times of crisis usually involve a breakdown in mobile phone or other key communication infrastructures, and Vine is designed to be as hardy as possible to keep people connected. Vine can be accessed via a desktop client (Windows only for now), text message or email.

Here’s the email Microsoft sent out announcing the shutdown of the service on October 11:

Subject: Important Notice: Microsoft Vine beta service will be available only until October 11, 2010

Thank you for your valuable collaboration and participation in the Microsoft Vine beta program over the past year.

Releasing products and services in beta form gives us a way to learn and adapt our technologies in a real world environment, to gather valuable feedback from our customers and partners and ensure that new models are sustainable. And more specifically, the Microsoft Vine invitation-only beta program was designed to garner participation and subsequent feedback from consumers, communities and governments about the challenges they face today and explore how technology can improve and enhance communications.

Despite positive feedback from customers like you over the course of Vine’s private beta, Microsoft has made the decision to discontinue Microsoft Vine effective October 11, 2010. After this date, you will no longer be able to access Microsoft Vine. We suggest that you record any contact information currently stored in Vine, prior to October 11th.

The decision to discontinue future development of Microsoft Vine was not easily made. Multiple options were thoroughly explored and evaluated with rigor and in the end it was determined that Microsoft Vine is not sustainable as a standalone offering.

Thank you again for your valuable feedback on this product. The key learnings acquired over the past year from the Vine beta will be used to inform and strengthen future product concepts and offerings. If you have any questions or concerns, please email

We’ve added Microsoft Vine to the TechCrunch DeadPool.