Microsoft Looks to Build Up Consumer Windows Community

"The Hive" is Microsoft's attempt to bring some of the community impetus it has generated with Channel 9, The Spoke and other developer-focused efforts to the consumer space.

Always on the lookout for ways to continue to build the buzz around Windows, Microsoft on Monday launched a beta release of a new community-outreach initiative, called "The Hive."

Microsoft officials denied that the company is trying to build a Windows version of Slashdot. Unlike Slashdot and other Microsoft community-building projects such as Channel 9 and The Spoke, all of which target developers, The Hive is aimed at online leaders who specialize in consumer-oriented applications of Windows and other Microsoft technologies, such as digital photography, gaming, multimedia, home finance and the like.

"The Hive is the only place on the Web created exclusively for online community leaders interested in Microsoft Windows products," according to a blurb on the Hive Web site.

The beta of the Hive features online forums, but later iterations will add a file-upload utility where members will be able to share screen shots, how-to content, tips and tricks, according to Microsoft officials.

Microsoft officials said they want the Hive to be a community that is run by third parties, not by Microsoft.

"We want to get peers to interact with each other in a safe environment," said Josh Levine, group product manager with Windows client communities. "We [Microsoft] will provide the server space and prizes [for forum participation, etc.] Well also provide some content. The community members will be the [forum] moderators."

The Hive is not one of Microsofts community-outreach projects, Levine said. Nor is it a marketing initiative, Levine said. The Hive program is not related in any way to Microsofts recently launched "Start Something" marketing campaign, Levine said.

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