MSN is giving up its Internet access services in Europe and passing the business to specialist ISPs. The service, which has been plagued by losses of up to $200 million (#118 million), buggy software and static growth for nearly a year, will pull out of access in 1998, starting with France. Existing French users will gain access to the service via France Telecom. John Linwood, development operations manager for MSN UK, denied that UK customers would be similarly affected, but did not rule out the possibility. "This is a clear reflection of the industry," he said. "Internet access is not our core competency and we believe that the large telcos, such as UUnet in the UK, will become the ISPs of the future." Microsoft's departure from access services in France may be symptomatic of its poor performance there. In Europe Microsoft has just 200,000 MSN members with 150,000 of them living in the UK. There are 31,000 MSN users in France.
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