Over the last few months Microsoft has slowly been moving from their traditional NNTP Newsgroup servers to a web based forum and it seems the last place they were in full swing is now on the list for this transition.

Microsoft Connect is the centralized web portal for anything and everything relating to beta testing and providing feedback on Microsoft products.  Connect has always had a NNTP newsgroup server that allowed each product group to have a place to encourage discussions amongst the beta testers and to interact with product team members.

A recent announcement on Microsoft Connect dated 9 September confirms that the Connect NNTP server is next on the list to transition to a web based forum to provide that feedback and discussion channel.

This blog posting was a 30 day warning of the impending retirement of this newsgroup server for Connect and explains the transition plan and future support of testing discussions:

  • In accordance with a company-wide initiative at Microsoft, Connect will be retiring its NNTP newsgroup service in our upcoming release, scheduled for October 7th, 2010.
  • How does this affect existing NNTP newsgroups?
    • NNTP access will no longer be available. This means that users who participate in Connect newsgroups via a newsreader can no longer sync and post new content. The behavior of existing content downloaded to the newsreader is dependent on how the client newsreader is configured.
    • The Newsgroup web UI on Connect will continue to function until end of December 2010. We are keeping the web UI for a few more months in order to provide a way to look up previous newsgroup content.
  • How will Connect support community conversations in the future?
    • Our team is building an alternative solution that serves as an enhancement to enable community discussions for product engagements on the Connect site. You may find more information about this new feature, Discussions, below. We are working with product teams to transition newsgroup communities to discussions.

As you may recall, the Microsoft General Newsgroups, MSDN and TECHNET have already made or begun this move from NNTP to a web based forum in the last few months.  With so many people preferring access to these types of discussions using newsreader programs a set of NNTP Bridges were developed/being developed to allow end users to access these discussion forums in their favorite newsreader.  If you want to grab those or learn more just visit the Online Forums Connection Home at Connect.

My point in bringing up the existence of these bridges is that I hope one gets developed or the functionality gets rolled into one of these to access the Connect forums as well.  I am sure there is a lot of demand from testers for the ability to continue access to these discussions using their newsreader instead of the web.

Are you a Microsoft Beta Tester on Connect?  What do you think of this move from NNTP to web based forums?