Even in our MSN and Windows Live MVP days, we were never big forums posters, but we remember following a long simmering feud between the (mainly) MVPs and the Microsoft forums about NNTP access to the forums. Basically, Microsoft wanted to move its forums to a web forum format, which offers a number of enhancements to the nntp (Network News Transfer Protocol), like ratings, tracking, etc. The MVPs and heavy newsgroup users disliked web forums (some quite intensely), because the interface didn’t allow dealing with multiple forums easily.
At one MVP Summit we attended, one MVP was passionate enough about the issue to ask Bill Gates, in a public question and answer forum, about the issue. Gates’ answer was a classic: “why can’t they have both?”.
Well now apparently (and we admit to not following this issue closely since our MVP days are long past), there’s a tool that does just that, allows Microsoft to have its web forums, and users to log in via a newsreader (Windows Live Mail, or umm Windows Mail or Outlook Express in Windows 7 , good luck with that!). LiveSide reader and blogger Vasudev has an extensive write-up on how to get the tool (from MS Connect) and how to install it.
So now you can check out your favorite newsgroups on Microsoft Answers, or MSDN or Technet, and read and respond directly through Windows Live Mail.