Microsoft Had a Yahoo Pipes Competitor?

image Covering social media almost exclusively as long as I have, it’s rare that I find something out there that I haven’t seen before.  Today was one of those days, though.  Somehow, Microsoft slipped past me without my notice something that’s being dubbed as a Yahoo Pipes alternative.

I only learn about it today, though, because I hear it’s being shut down. Here’s the scoop from CloudAve:

Microsoft positioned Popfly as a competitor with rich UI for Yahoo Pipes. In fact, when they released Silverlight, they used Popfly as the poster boy for Silverlight’s capabilities. They expected Popfly to be a success like Yahoo Pipes. After some initial wave of curiosity, it didn’t get a deeper traction. Now they are shutting down. A note in their website says it will be gone on August 24th.

The blog post announcing the shut down asks people to embrace other Microsoft technologies like Microsoft Web Platform or Microsoft XNA or Microsoft Kodu. It is sad to see them go down after being positioned as the torchbearer for Silverlight technology. I tried playing around a few time but it didn’t come anywhere closer to Yahoo Pipes in terms of flexibility and user experience. Plus, it was painfully slow for me with all the bloated UI.

It sounds like I haven’t missed a whole lot in never having used it, but I always try to stay aware of mainstream competitors to Yahoo Pipes, because it’s a powerful tool that I keep close at hand in my personal toolbox.

The problem with most of them is that most alternatives are backed by small third party vendors – if any of them became popular, the stress on the server could force an underfunded startup to close them out (a distinct possibility when Microsoft can’t financially justify keeping theirs afloat).