Microsoft to retire, refocus Windows Phone MVP program

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Looks like Microsoft is making some major changes to one of its Windows Phone programs as the company is planning on dropping a number of Windows Phone Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) who have helped the company reach its stance in the mobile phone arena.

According to Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft sent out an email to several MVPs notifying them that they were going to be dropped at the end of their existing terms. “This isn’t just the usual phase out that happens when MVP renewals occur. This is a bigger and more concerted effort, according to individuals I’ve heard from, but who asked not to be named.”

According to one MVP who remained anonymous, “The email wording was very specific – Windows phone MVP award expertise is being retired. They are not awarding or re-awarding for this area.” “They are creating a new more consumer-focused group at some point in the future. Speculation is end of year or early 2012.”

“However, we’ve always considered this group to be consumer focused. The general feeling is that they are cleaning house – hitting the reset button and starting over with this group. What I’ve been told from someone on the inside, is that they are going to focus on people that are contributing in the MS Answers forums. But those in the existing group that are leaders in the answers forums have also been cut.”

Another MVP stated, “They were told the ‘Windows Phone expertise’ was being discontinued and replaced by a ‘Windows Phone Consumer’ expertise, and that when their respective one year term was up, they would no longer be Windows Phone MVPs. Effective the first week of July, at least a dozen (possibly two) will be culled from the ranks around the world, and come October another couple of dozen will go. This will continue until next year when all the Windows Phone MVPs will be gone.”

Apparently, existing Windows Phone MVPs will be considered for the new program but no details were given about what qualifications Microsoft is looking for. Windows Phone Development MVPs are not part of this MVP “house-cleaning”, from what Foley was told.

One MVP hit home a good point. “What’s particularly baffling is that all the MVPs are already helping Windows Phone consumers… so Microsoft’s stated rationale is particularly galling.”

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