Microsoft has just launched Soapbox.

This is a new beta they are using as a testbed for an Atlas-powered alternative to the plethora of video sharing sites on the web.
In normal speak: Microsoft wants a piece of the YouTube/Google/Yahoo video pie ;).

MSN Soapbox

On the homepage, you see nothing but a loading screen until youactually log in with your Microsoft Passport account. Then, you aretreated to another rendition of a nerd in an MSN butterfly suit (an MSNbeta wouldn’t be complete without it!).

The service is open to a select group of users (invite only), although you are encouraged to request access too. Luckily the boys at CNet have a had a quick browse through the working version of the site.

One word of caution: when signing up for the beta you are very strongly advised to read the legalese. The most significant thing that caught my eye: entire chapters devoted to payed placement of content and how the billing works. I”l be interested to see if this approach can help build the content library!

I always enjoy taking a website apart and seeing how i can have at the assets. Sadly, I’m new to Atlas and AJAXin general, and I gave up after skimming through the 6 or sojavascripts and 4 flash movies full of ActionScript. Maybe that will beone to return to in the future.