Just weeks after announcing that it would be overhauling MSN on the web and rebranding its Windows and Windows Phone Bing apps as MSN apps, Microsoft is going live with the changes. So the new version of the MSN web portal has dropped the preview label and those with.1/RT and .1 have some apps to update.
The biggest change is on the web, where you'll find a completely new, Azure-hosted MSN web portal. Now, over 425 million regular visitors to MSN.com will be able to access this new site version, with links to favorite services such as Outlook.com, Office, OneNote, OneDrive, Skype, Facebook and Twitter, and deep integration with MSN apps such as News, Sports, Heath & Fitness, Money, Travel, Weather, and Food & Drink. (There are also several other additional information categories—Entertainment, Lifestyle, Autos, and so on.)
All of MSN is backed by thousands of authoritative sources, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN, AOL (including TechCrunch and Huffington Post) and Condé Nast (including Vanity Fair, Epicurious, Bon Appétit). Obviously, the same sources supply information to the MSN experiences on the web as well as the MSN apps on Windows and Windows Phone.
On Windows 8.1, all of the bundled Bing apps—well, except for Bing Maps—have been updated, albeit it in very subtle ways. For example, you'll see the title "MSN Health & Fitness" instead of "Bing Health & Fitness" now. And Bing Finance has been renamed to match the branding across all end-points, to MSN Money.
Windows Phone 8.1
On Windows Phone 8.1, all of the bundled or downloaded Bing content apps have been updated with MSN branding.
Before (top) and after (bottom)
And Bing Finance has been renamed to match the branding across all end-points, to MSN Money. It's the only app that really calls attention to the change.
But there's more: The Health & Fitness and Weather apps can now provide very attractive lock screen displays, and the former can display live activity data if you have a Sensor Core-based Nokia Lumia handset like the Lumia 1520, 630 or 635.
I also noticed something I'd not seen before on Windows Phone: The licensing has changed and now requires you to install the apps to your phone as they no longer support SD card install. So you will need to move those apps from SD to phone using the Storage Sense settings app before you can upgrade. (You'll be prompted about this, but will need to go find the interface yourself.)