Microsoft recently sent a letter to all MSN Groups users and managers to let them know that MSN Groups will be closing down soon, and that they can move their groups to Multiply.

If you are an MSN Groups user, you’ll need to move your group to the Multiply service by February 21, 2009.

You may have received the letter or seen an announcement about this change mentioned in the blogosphere. We’d like to tell you more about some of the most frequent questions we’ve heard about this change. For more details, you can also visit the MSN Groups Resource Center.

Why are you closing MSN Groups?

It is our goal to always provide the most current and user-friendly technology to our users, and over the past few years we’ve received feedback from users that MSN Groups falls short of that goal. At the same time, we have been making huge investments in the Windows Live suite of services. In the long term, we believe that closing MSN Groups is the best way to enable us to offer great group experiences that help our customers stay in touch with the people they care about. We have been building a brand new service for groups on Windows Live, building it from the ground up to provide great value for our customers.

Since the new Windows Live Groups service (coming soon!) is being built with an eye to the future, we weren’t able to retrofit it to use the data contained in MSN Groups. However, it is very important to us that our users can keep the data they created using MSN Groups and can continue to enjoy those experiences. So we have partnered with Multiply to provide MSN Groups users with a way to keep their groups going into the future on Multiply.

Why Multiply?

Multiply is an online group and media sharing service that PCWorld recently called one of the ten most underrated tech products. Multiply has worked diligently with us to understand all the ways our customers use MSN Groups, and has prepared its service to receive and host MSN Groups and their data. Multiply prepared a special opt-in migration method that puts group managers in control of moving a group to Multiply and inviting members to rejoin the group in its new location.

Why not allow current MSN Groups to migrate to Windows Live Groups?

Our upcoming groups service on Windows Live will have a different focus from MSN Groups. The first version of the new Windows Live Groups service will be optimized for small groups like clubs or families, whereas MSN Groups caters to a wide variety of group sizes and types, including large public groups. Because the two services differ in their intent and feature set, a direct migration from MSN Groups to Windows Live Groups wasn’t possible. Multiply offers a similar set of features to MSN Groups and therefore can more effectively receive all of the MSN Groups data at this time.

Where can I learn more?

If you have other questions, visit the MSN Groups Resource Center at any time for the most up-to-date answers to common questions, information about migrating a group to Multiply, contact information for our support staff, and important dates.


Update 2/20/09: We’ve extended MSN Groups for a couple more days. If you are an MSN Groups user, you’ll need to move your group to the Multiply service before Monday, February 23, 2009. On February 23 we will close MSN Groups and you will no longer be able to access your group or any of the data in it. For more infor, see "Closing MSN Groups."