/// Sunrise, Sunset: Why Companies Kill Products We Love
When large companies with millions of users discontinue a site or service (called “sunsetting”), they hope to avoid any negative consequences, like yanking away a tablecloth without disturbing the dishes. That works when the site is long past its day and mostly forgotten, as with AltaVista, recently extinguished by parent company Yahoo. But when the service is active and trafficked, the consequence of sunsetting is more like pulling a rug out from under the feet of users. Case study: Google Reader, which closed its doors on July 1. Google’s surprise announcement in March of Reader’s demise generated outrage and feelings of betrayal among RSS loyalists. Yahoo has been an active sunsetter lately, making three multi-product closure announcements in the last four months. And last week, Microsoft announced that it would shut down MSN TV (formerly WebTV), a relatively ancient service still used and loved by a population numbering in the hundreds of thousands. The logic of sunsetting resides behind the scenes, out of view of the average consumer. It might seem baseless for large companies with immense resources to unplug existing services that don’t appear to be undergoing ongoing development. If users are happy with a product as it stands, why not let it hum along undisturbed? Part of the answer lies in secondary resource management
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