A post on the Internet Explorer blog makes it official: IE is moving their web development support from MSDN Communities to the independent Stack Overflow. Program Manager Jonathon Sampson made an initial announcement on an IE Dev Center post last week, and the blog post confirms the move:
With our increased focus and adoption of standards, involvement in standards bodies, and continued cooperation with other browser vendors, it makes sense to consolidate Web development discussions on the Web around a common community.
So far this month, 52 questions have been asked on MSDN. In the same span of time over 600 questions have been asked on Stack Overflow, and have received over 600 answers. Stack Overflow has a healthy and mature process, a powerful search engine, excellent community-oriented features, and more. We are very excited to watch as it continues to shape and mold the Web-development industry.
StackOverflow began back in 2008 as a joint project between Jeff Atwood, who ran a popular programming blog called "Coding Horror", and Joel Spolsky, who founded Fog Creek Software and ran a popular blog of his own, "Joel on Software". Since its inception, Stack Overflow has grown to host almost 3 million users, and is one of many forums hosted on the Stack Exchange Network.
A number of other Microsoft properties make use of Stack Overflow, including Azure and OneDrive, but IE is the first to completely move away from Microsoft properties and onto a privately held network. In the blog post comments, Jonathon Sampson explains a bit more about their reasoning for the move:
We are not paying Stack Overflow to host questions - it's just what Stack Overflow does (and does very well). We do have a partnership with Stack Overflow with tag sponsorship, but it predates and is largely unrelated to this decision.
I cannot speak to what direction other teams may or may not take on MSDN. The Internet Explorer team is not the first team to recognize and decide to leverage Stack Overflow, and may not be the last. Ultimately our goals are to deliver as much value to the community as we can - in some cases that is accomplished on the MSDN network, and in other cases it may not be.
IE has been scrambling to regain some of the cachet its lost with developers, and may well be have unique case for moving to Stack Overflow, it's open and well used by developers. We'll see if the trend continues.