Earlier this year, Microsoft moved to reposition its longstanding “MVP” program, aiming to narrow the focus of the program to developers and IT Pros. At the time, Microsoft planned to move some of the more consumer focused disciplines to as yet unspecified programs, according to Mary Jo Foley:
This means Xbox, ID@Xbox, Bing Ads and the Windows and Devices, Windows Experience, Windows Phone, Consumer Security and Surface MVPs will be moved to new and so far publicly unspecified programs.
Now, however, WinBeta has learned that these former consumer MVPs will instead remain in the program, but as “Windows Insider” MVPs. All current Windows Experience, Surface, Windows Phone, and Consumer Security MVPs will be reclassified with the new designation, beginning July 1st. The transitioned awardees will apparently be required to join the Windows Insider program, and can opt out of being re-awarded if they so desire, but expertise in, or even much knowledge of, the Insider program apparently isn’t necessary. These MVPs will simply be reassigned, and “grandfathered (or grandmothered) in.”
Microsoft has announced dates for its annual MVP Summit, to be held Nov 7-10 in Redmond. The affair was supposed to have been downsized, but adding these consumer MVPs back into the mix may swell the attendee list a bit, as the new Windows Insider MVPs will be invited to attend.
It’s unclear whether Microsoft will award more capable Windows Insider MVPs in July as well, or if these transitioned MVPs will have to at some point show some affinity for the Insider program, other than just joining it. In fact, Microsoft is looking at a number of factors, including participation in Microsoft forums, product feedback, blogs and websites, and a number of others, including but not limited to “Engagement with Insider Builds,” so it appears that the Windows Insider MVP may become a sort of a catch all for consumer awardees in the future.
Why Microsoft apparently felt it was better to develop a myriad of separate programs all with the same goal (an idea from which they’ve since apparently backtracked), or why being a “Windows Insider” MVP is better for the program than being a “Surface” MVP is also unclear, but there it is.