For those that don't know the history of WinBeta, we started out as a small Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel back in the late 90s. WinBeta was known for being the first to release beta Microsoft software, back when Microsoft employees weren't getting fired left and right for leaking products or information under development. Fast forward a few years, WinBeta became the authority for Beta software, especially during the time Windows Whistler (XP) and Longhorn (Vista) were in development. The rise of torrents and the downfall of IRC had taken place and WinBeta eventually turned into a news site covering Windows. Eventually, we began covering Microsoft as a whole -- which is where we stand now.
Tentatively, this July, the name "WinBeta" will be retiring and "On MSFT" will be born.
Over the past two years, we have been working hard to cover everything Microsoft has to offer, regardless of what platform you are on. In this day and age, it has become acceptable (whether you want to admit it to yourself or not) to utilize a different mobile platform while using Microsoft apps and services.
I, along with WinBeta staff members, have realized long ago that our brand and image did not align with our direction and goals with the news site. But change is a hard thing to do. People dislike change, that's a normal human reaction to something we are so comfortable with. However, after seeing how our friends at WMPU (now MSPU) and WPCENTRAL (now Windows Central) have embraced change, I have felt that it is high time we embraced change too.
After careful consideration, we selected On MSFT as our new name. First, it's very short and easy to remember (plus the domain name was available!!). Secondly, we wanted to be careful and not use Windows or Microsoft in our domain name, potentially violating any trademarks. And finally, we felt On MSFT fit us perfectly well. I'm proud to say that I am on Microsoft (get it?), and I enjoy what they have to offer. Do you?
Sure, some of you will not like this change while others will be happy to see it. For those of you who dislike change, the discomfort will be momentary and you will love our new site. I promise. Give it a chance. We've partnered with Seattle-based creative firm Westward Creative to help us through this transition and development of On MSFT.
What is On MSFT?
On MSFT will be a publication dedicated to providing the most relevant, up-to-date insights on Microsoft and its range of consumer and professional products and services -- ultimately inviting you, as the reader, to envision Microsoft as a lifestyle brand and On MSFT as your primary resource for Microsoft news.
Windows 10 will remain a focus for us, but we will also expand coverage on everything else Microsoft has to offer, regardless of what platform you choose to use. Some of you prefer Windows 10 Mobile devices and Microsoft apps, others prefer Android devices with Microsoft services -- regardless of your choice, we want to be your new home for Microsoft news.
We have several new partnerships that will be taking place over the course of the next few months and we are excited to be your top resource for Microsoft content. Ultimately, we want to continue being a great place for fans to interact and stay on top of Microsoft's every move.
How can you help?
As the development of On MSFT begins, I personally want each and every one of our readers to be a part of the transition and development of the new site. We are completely revamping our image, site design, etc, and I want your opinions. What do you want to see on the new site? What type of content? Do you want a forum for community discussions? Share your thoughts in the comments below. When the time comes for input on website design, we'll be asking for your input -- so you can help be a part of shaping the new site. Super exciting stuff!
A few things we had in mind
- Ability to sort through Windows, Android, and iOS stories related to Microsoft.
- Categories like Windows on Microsoft, Android on Microsoft, and iOS on Microsoft.
- New comments system and forum integration with single sign-on.
- New site design with better focus on content and in-depth features.
- What else would you like to see?
Last but not least
Zac Bowden has been with WinBeta for over five years and has been a pillar in establishing our brand. I am super pleased and excited to announce that he will be soon joining Windows Central as a full-time writer. This is a great career choice for him and we all wish him the best. Please wish Zac good luck on his new endeavour and we'll sure miss his well-renowned video opener: "Hey dere guys, zac here from win bay tah and wel come back to anudder video."
To all our readers – from those who have followed WinBeta from its commencement over ten years ago, to individuals seeking our content for the first time – we hope our soon-to-come refreshed aesthetic feels better aligned to what we do best and representative of our audience.
You may have already noticed our Twitter, Facebook, and other social media accounts have already embraced the On MSFT name. We will leave WinBeta.org alone for the time being until On MSFT is ready to go live. Stay tuned for further news on the development of On MSFT and information on how you can participate. For now, share your feedback in the comments below. What do you want to see on a brand-new Microsoft-centric news site?