After loyally serving its users for more than 13 years, Microsoft finally bit the bullet anddecided that it will retire its Windows Live Messenger service on March 15 this year. The plan to shut down Messenger was already on the table in November 2012, but the exact date had not yet been announced. Now, the software giant officially notified its users by email that from March 15 on, Windows Live Messenger will no longer be ‘live.’
Windows Live Messenger, more commonly known as MSN Messenger, was launched way back in July 1999. Before the social media era, it was once one of the most widely used online chat services. As the years rolled on, more functionality was added to the chat, allowing users to share pictures, make video calls and play online games. However, having to compete with Facebook Chat, Skype, Google Talk and iMessage, its popularity has waned significantly.
When Microsoft coughed up a whopping $8.5 billion in 2011 to purchase Skype from eBay and its other shareholders, it became clear that Windows Live Messenger’s days were numbered. With Skype, users can not only chat, call and make video calls but they will alsoreceive additional benefits which they didn’t have with the good old Messenger: screen sharing, calling to landlines and group video conferencing. Furthermore, Skype has a broader device support for all platforms, including iPad and Android tablets. Not to mention that Microsoft canmonetise its users through top-up services making Skype the natural commercial choice.
Microsoft will be offering the Windows Live Messenger users a migration service to easily make the transition to Skype. An upgrade button was added to the newest Messenger desktop app. When clicking on it, it automatically uninstalls Messengers and replaces it with Skype.However, some of those who already made the transition reported that the transfer of contacts was not successful. Skype want to make the transition as smoothly as possible, advertising for additional technical support jobs to join its team in preparation for March 15. Those who already have an existing Skype account can easily merge it with their Messenger account.
So, it looks like you have approximately two months to keep using your beloved Messenger. Alternatively, you could migrate to China where it will still be possible to login on Windows Live Messenger, because the technology is hosted by a local service provider.
So long Messenger, long live Skype!