We’ve been hearing rumors of the closure of MSN Groups and its replacement by Windows Live Groups for years now, last having written about it almost exactly a year ago. Now, however, in an email from Technical Support posted in the MSN Discussion public newsgroup, we have confirmation, and a timeline. In the email, a newsgroup poster who wrote Technical Support to ask for clarification on MSN Groups after an email went out to MSN Groups users in Italy telling them of the coming closure, and got a telling response. In the email, Claudia reveals that MSN Groups is “to close on February 21, 2009”, and that Windows Live Groups will launch on November 17, 2008.
A post on the Community Feedback MSN Group, dedicated to Group managers, requested information as well, and received the following response, which while Geri doesn’t go into the detail that Claudia does, does seem to confirm at least that “change is coming”:
Change is coming
As you may have noticed we’ve made considerable investments across MSN and Windows Live to enhance your product experience while aligning our online services brands. As we make new product investments, our intention is to offer new products and capabilities while keeping you connected to your online network.
Can you give me specifics?
For now, unfortunately, I cannot give specifics about the new products and updates we have in the works. We will however be communicating updates in the near future so definitely be on the look-out for those.
Any important announcements from Microsoft about MSN Groups will be posted at the MSN Groups homepage (http://groups.msn.com). In the near future, we hope to provide you with more information and establish communication channels through which you can provide feedback.
We appreciate your continued support as we strive to provide you with the highest quality service available. Thank you for using MSN Groups.
From Claudia’s email it appears that MSN Groups users will not be able to migrate directly to Windows Live Groups. Apparently, however, a service, called Multiply, will be offered in order to migrate MSN Groups to Multiply so that they can be preserved after MSN Groups is closed. The Spaces site referenced in the email is restricted access, however a SkyDrive folder on that site contains four documents that relate to Multiply:
(UPDATE: The links were working (making sure to be signed out of all Live IDs) this morning when I posted – so the docs were apparently taken down – didn’t bother to grab the files, sorry)
Here’s the email from Claudia that was posted in the MSN Discussion public newsgroup:
Thanks to contact Technical Support Windows MSN Groups, are Claudia, and
with reference to your e-mail, you know that MSN Groups will be closed and
that is why you can have problems.
That message I sent personally it is true then I pray to you and your entire
community to read the information on closing MSN Groups which is located at:
MSN Groups service to close on February 21 2009. Users can still be used
until that day, but will no longer have the ability to add additional storage
capacity to it.
There was a company with Multiply, a service of Media Group and sharing
online, to create a migration process that moves the service to MSN Groups
(Multiply), so in that way preserve the online community and the history of
the group MSN.
A new service, Windows Live groups, will be launched on November 17 2008.
Customers have 3 options to move his team to a new service:
1. Automatically move your MSN and its data set to Multiply. This option is
free and easy to use: Multiply move the contents of the MSN group and invited
members to return to join his group in this new position.
2. Start from scratch in another department. Customers can start from
scratch and create your group in a different service. However, we recommend
you leave your group will automatically move to Multiply. This will enable
the group to an easy transition, and users can continue to enjoy the
communities that have created.
3. Start from scratch on Windows Live group. To further expand our exchange
and communication services, Windows Live will launch this new service. It is
expected to launch Windows Live groups to the public on November 17, 2008.
Multiply site: _http://multiply.com/msngroupimport% 20% 20.
Thank you for using Windows MSN Groups.
Support Windows MSN Groups.