Microsoft Most Valuable Professional
According to Microsoft, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award is given to "exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others." The awarded are people who "actively share their ... technical expertise with the different technology communities related directly or indirectly to Microsoft". An MVP is awarded for contributions over the previous year.
The MVP program grew out of the software developer community, as the initial MVPs were some of the most active on the online peer support communities such as Usenet and CompuServe. It has since grown to include other types of products, and other avenues of contribution. Steve Ballmer spoke to a group of Microsoft MVPs about Windows XP and Windows Vista.
A posting from Tamar Granor on the Universal Thread web site gives this account of the origin of the MVP program.
|“||Way back in the dark ages, Microsoft provided a great deal of technical support on CompuServe. The CompuServe FoxPro forum was extremely busy and Calvin Hsia, then an independent developer, now Developer Lead on the Fox team, created what we called "Calvin's List." It was a listing of the number of postings by person, including info on both messages sent and received. Being in the top 10 on Calvin's List any month was an accomplishment, though we discussed whether it was a good thing or a bad thing."
As the story goes, some of the Microsoft people jumped on Calvin's List as a way to identify high contributors, and thus was born the MVP program.
Cancellation and reinstatement
On October 22, 1999, a Microsoft executive sent out a message announcing the cancellation of the MVP program. This may have been in response to a recent suit against AOL by its newsgroup leaders, who felt that they deserved to be paid for the time they put in online. After an outpouring of online support, including many emails sent directly to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, Microsoft announced three days later that the cancellation had been rescinded.
Locating an MVP
With the introduction of a site dedicated to MVPs, it is now easier to locate an MVP from a specific country and from a specific area of expertise. The need to contact an MVP can be user specific. The most common purpose is for students enrolled in Microsoft Student Partnership (MSP) programs. The 2011 update to the program now allows MSP students to contact MVPs directly for training purposes. This is subject to the availability and acceptance of the MVP whom the MSP student contacts. Among other purposes, the MVP might be contacted to get assistance with local and assembled devices running Microsoft products. Anyone can use the Advanced Search on the Microsoft MVP website to locate MVP awardees by location and/or by expertise.
Microsoft Community (also called Microsoft Answers) is an extension of the Microsoft website that engages in connecting users with experts of different types – including Microsoft MVPs. Users can send a personal message or contact an MVP on a forum as per the availability of the MVP. The concept of Microsoft Community is to provide unofficial support to its users and is something like Windows Live QnA. The forum site deals with almost all products and hence users can expect MVPs from almost all areas of expertise there.
Windows Community is a Microsoft featured community that deals primarily with assistance and information on Microsoft Windows Operating System and related applications plus news. People can find an MVP from different areas and expertise on the Authors page of the Windows Community. The site, however, lacks a list of MVP awardees that can make it easier for people to locate area and location specific Microsoft experts.
Separate from Microsoft's MVP program, a few current and previous MVPs maintain the MVPS.org web site and mail hosting service. This site is for the use of any individual granted MVP status by Microsoft, and provides a platform for continuing their MVP work through technical sites in a variety of Microsoft applications and technologies. MVPS.org is in no way associated with, funded by or governed by Microsoft. The listing of MVP web sites, the hosting of those sites, and MVPS.org email addresses are provided to MVPs strictly upon request by MVPs to the MVPs.org admins after their profile has been published by the Microsoft MVP program. The names on MVPS.org represents only a small subsection of MVP awardees since 1995, and is not intended to be a definitive listing of current and past award recipients. Same is true for a non-Microsoft MVP blogs site  which is a collection of MVP blogs but not from bloggers Microsoft had granted an official "blogger" status on Microsoft own blog site.
- "New Microsoft MVP Website". Microsoft. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- Edward Mendelson (2008-06-02). "Windows 7: What the Future Holds". PCMag. Retrieved 2011-06-08.
- Mary Jo Foley (2011-02-28). "Best of 2011 MVP Summit". ZDNET. Retrieved 2011-06-08.
- Granor, Tamar. "Re: Listing of 2003 VFP MVPs". Universal Thread. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-06-15. (free registration required)
- Peterson, Karl. "MVP Program
AbandonedReinstated". Retrieved 2007-06-15.
- Foley, Mary Jo. "MS revives MVP program". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 2000-12-15. Retrieved 2007-06-15.