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Microsoft says goodbye to the Butterfly Program

Who remembers the MSN Butterfly community? For those of you who don't know, the program was renamed a few years ago to the Windows Live Butterfly Community. Today Microsoft officially announced that it will be closing the program, which had about ~150 members.

So what was the Windows Live Butterfly Community? The program launched about 8 years ago and was designed to award the best beta testers who tested MSN products. Everyone who actively participated in the program got the first dibs on beta testing MSN products. They received gifts from Microsoft as a token of their appreciation, and even held a few "Butterfly Tours" of Microsoft's Redmond campus.

When the MSN brand was faded out and Microsoft announced the Windows Live platform, the MSN Butterfly program was re-branded to the Windows Live Butterfly community. As a beta fanatic myself and after years of beta testing MSN products, I was invited to join the Windows Live Butterfly Community in 2005 and have been a member since. Over the last few years we have been granted exclusive access to many Windows Live products and also had first dibs on any Windows Live beta.

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet that the Windows Live Butterfly community has officially been closed, which was premature to the formal announcement in the NTTP newsgroup. A Microsoft spokesperson had this to say:

"The Butterfly group has been involved in beta testing MSN and Windows Live products for a number of years.  Rather than continue the program as something only focused on beta testing, we're offering the group a variety of options to engage in the broader Windows Live community, including the opportunity to join the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) program and continued and future access to beta testing opportunities."

As a Windows Live Butterfly myself, I wish each and every one of you the best of luck in the future. Congratulations to those who have been nominated for the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) program.

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