With Microsoft refocusing its efforts on developers and businesses, those most interested in consumer devices have been left out in the cold. More importantly, it took Microsoft since last October to figure out what to do with its MVP groups that have been focused in this area for years. Last October the company reorganized into 36 areas of technical expertise to a set of 10 broader categories that encompass a combined set of 90 technology areas. However, many MVPs who helped foster community and deliver volunteer support for Windows and devices had no home. Some were migrated into business categories, but it left many without an area of true focus.
Today, Dona Sarkar, the new maven of the Windows Insider club, provides some information about what Microsoft is planning for this group. Microsoft is developing a new Windows Insider program just for MVPs – which sounds like an Insider+ program, where they still get to test out Windows builds like everyone else in the Insider program, but get more direct access to the product groups for direct feedback instead of being limited to UserVoice and the feedback app.
The new program is not yet complete and more is planned. Dona says…
While we are working directly with existing MVPs as they transition into the new program, for our most engaged Insiders, the opportunity to become a Windows Insider MVP will come early in 2017 and will be unveiled this fall. Stay tuned for future announcements.
If you’ve been watching your social feeds today, you’ve probably noticed technical folks announcing their MVP award renewal. Awards are handed out four times a year, the next one is in October. The MVP program is an interesting one. The award is given based on community activity and support in an area of technical focus. At one time in the program, it was all about technical acumen and awardees were shifted in and out pretty regularly just based on their annual ability to deliver volunteer support. Today, the program has become more of an unofficial marketing arm for Microsoft where MVPs are under the same strict NDA obligations as Microsoft employees and once an award is handed out, you rarely see it revoked. It’s not unheard of to find an MVP with 10-15 years of consecutive awards despite noticeable lulls in activity.
As to what might happen for this new Insider MVP category, its hard to say. Microsoft seems to have left a lot of wiggle room. It sounds as if a Windows Insider MVP may not be as prestigious an award as a regular MVP, and this new focus area might be nothing more than being a beta tester with a product manager on speed dial.