Microsoft to shut down its Connect beta testing site by year end

Microsoft's long-standing Connect testing site is being phased out and replaced by a new 'Collaborate' testing portal.

Microsoft is phasing out its long-running Connect beta testing site.

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Microsoft has been transitioning its product teams from Microsoft Connect to a new site, Microsoft Collaborate, over the past year.

"We value customer and partner input and Connect has been one tool that has enabled this. We've been working to move these forums to newer modern tools like Microsoft Collaborate and the migration will be complete by the end of the year," a spokesperson said when I asked about the future of Connect.

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I asked Microsoft whether anyone still using Connect for testing and feedback will be migrated automatically to Collaborate. The spokesperson's answer: "Teams are able to choose what set of technologies including UserVoice, Feedback Hub and Collaborate are best suited for their specific communities going forward."

I am not surprised Microsoft is shuttering Connect, with the focus in Windows and Office on their respective Insider programs as the preferred way for testers to provide Microsoft with feedback on evolving products and services. I asked Microsoft about Connect's fate after seeing a link about SQL Server in the Connect forums, which indicated Collaborate was going to become Connect's successor.

Until I asked Microsoft about Connect, I had never heard of Collaborate. A link on the docs.microsoft.com site describes Collaborate this way:

"The Microsoft Collaborate portal provides tools and services to streamline engineering collaboration within the Microsoft ecosystem by enabling the sharing of engineering system work items (bugs, feature requests, etc.) and the distribution of content (builds, documents, specs)."

Collaborate is a central repository for feedback management, content downloads, user management, and program/engagement management. According to the portal, Collaborate goes beyond what Microsoft is currently doing with Feedback Hub -- its site for submitting bugs, issues and suggestions -- by "provid(ing) additional functionality that enables organizations and users to collaborate on feedback work items. Feedback can be configured in different ways to enable the functionality needed to support each specific collaboration."

Collaborate is available via the Microsoft Dev Center Dashboard, as well as from the Docs.com documentation site.

I'm not sure how long Microsoft used Connect to connect with its testers (I asked company officials but received no comment on that), but I believe it's been around at least a decade and probably longer.