Microsoft is expected to officially open the beta program for Windows Live Messenger 9.0 this afternoon (or early evening). Windows Live Messenger 9.0 is the next generation of Windows Live Messenger; this release is a "major" release and as such there will be no further interim builds for Windows Live Messenger. The beta program for Windows Live Messenger is by invitation only and those invitations were sent out last week on Tuesday - Wednesday (the 21st, and 22nd respectively). Currently the beta program has been limited to 5,000 testers and will later be expanded to a larger group.
As reported by several sites, the program was not put on hold at all due to the feature list being leaked over the holiday weekend, additionally, sites also reported that some testers had already gotten the build and that was just a rumor. Coincidentally, almost all of the sites that had posted the feature list for Windows Live Messenger had politely removed the list of features. Again, the beta program is expected to officially start this afternoon or early evening. We will be updating this post when the build is released on Microsoft's Connect web site. We will share more information as it comes in and we will share as much information as we are allowed to by our non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
News source: Winxperts.net