An e-mail snafu has led to the leak of Microsoft's decision to shutter its MSN Groups service, according to LiveSide.net. It's not a surprise, as MSN Groups was one of the last vestiges of Microsoft's Web services strategy pre-Windows Live.
MSN Groups will be closing on February 21, 2009. It'll be replaced with a new service, Windows Live Groups, which debuts on November 17.
Here's the catch: The LiveSide post indicates MSN Groups will not be migrating to Windows Live Groups; the new Windows Live service will be different enough so that the transition wouldn't be a clean one. Instead, the LiveSide post says that existing MSN Groups will transition to community site Multiply--in other words, Multiply is effectively acquiring MSN Groups from Microsoft.
Representatives from Multiply, which said earlier this month that it has reached 10 million registered users, confirmed the news. Microsoft representatives released a longer statement: "It is true that we are planning to close the MSN Groups service on February 21, 2009 and will offer you the opportunity to move your group to our new partner service, Multiply. We understand the importance of keeping your group together, so we partnered with Multiply to create a migration process that moves your group to their service to preserve your online community and its history.
This post was updated at 4:30 p.m. PT with comment from Microsoft.