Enter Skype: Microsoft to Retire Windows Live Messenger

by Jordan Richardson on November 7, 2012

Ever since Microsoft made the move to snag Skype back in May of 2011, many analysts knew this day was coming. The company has announced plans to officially ditch its Live Messenger Service, which will mean that it will turn to Skype for its messaging purposes.

The announcement was made by Skype CEO Tony Bates. “Our goal remains to deliver the best communications experience for everyone, everywhere. We want to focus our efforts on making things simpler for our users while continuously improving the overall experience,” he wrote in a blog post.

Messenger will be put on the shelf in the first quarter of 2013 in all countries except mainland China.

Windows Live Messenger launched in 1999 and, prior to the age of social networking, was really one of the most popular ways to communicate on the Internet. It was primarily a text-based service at first, but it evolved into using video and picture messaging services as well. Eventually it introduced games.

Skype, meanwhile, launched in 2003 and brought users together with video, text and voice chat options. The basic version of Skype is free, although there are pay plans that allow users to call telephones.

Skype currently has about 663 million users worldwide, while Microsoft’s Messenger is down to 100 million. According to regulatory documents, 207 billion minutes of calls were made on Skype last year alone.

Going forward, Microsoft Live Messenger users will be able to migrate their contacts and accounts to Skype. Skype users won’t have to make any changes in the immediate future. Messenger users will be asked to download Skype 6.0 to continue using those services.

“We will work with you over the next few months to help you transition and offer information and help along the way. To help you learn how to get the most out of Skype, be on the lookout for some special offers later this year as you join your Messenger friends in the migration,” wrote Bates.

While many will decry the union between the dreaded Microsoft and Skype, the transition just makes sense. There’s little point in Microsoft having two competing services under its wing. Skype allows them to move messaging services into its Xbox console, for one thing, and it makes more sense in the context of Windows Phone 8 software as well.

Plus, with Microsoft hooking Skype up with Facebook, the integration with the popular social networking site’s chat tool serves as an added bonus.

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Written by: Jordan Richardson. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSSTwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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