Redmond, Washington — Confirming rumors that started swirling around yesterday that said Microsoft’s 13-year-old Windows Live Messenger will soon be just a memory. After many years of trying to brand its Live Internet services, Microsoft has finally announced that it is bidding adieu to its Live Messenger chat service, and migrate almost all of its users to Skype, which the company had acquired a year ago and was the focal point of the Windows Phone 8 launch event, the company announced in a blog post.
Eventually, the Redmond, Wash.-based company said that all Messenger users would be shepherded into Skype so Microsoft could unite its IM clients under one brand. Microsoft would not comment on rumors yesterday, but it outright confirmed the news today. The company will retire Messenger apps “in the first quarter of 2013” for all regions worldwide, except for mainland China, Brian Hall, general manager of Microsoft’s Windows Live unit, wrote in a blog post Tuesday.
In fact the deadline indicates that fans of Microsoft’s enduring IM client have until the end of March next year to enjoy the free software, at which point Ballmer and pals will be hitting the kill switch. By that time, consumers who want to use instant messaging will have no choice but to use Skype for that.
Image Credit: (Microsoft)
Microsoft induced users to change over to Skype, which offers video and voice calling in addition to instant messenger. The company recently released Skype 6.0 for Mac and Windows, which allows you to sign in to Skype using a Microsoft account. Doing so will transport all your Messenger contacts to Skype automatically.
Describing the many advance features the company said, “Many of us use and love Messenger today — but it is always been about the people that make up Messenger — not the app itself,” Hall wrote. “We are confident that Skype provides a better experience and even stronger network — today and even more so in the future, especially with the addition of the Messenger network.”
On the Skype Big Blog, Tony Bates, President of the Skype Division at Microsoft, revealed that all Messenger users who sign into the latest version of Skype with their Microsoft account will be greeted by all their Messenger contacts, writes:
“We have got good news to share! Skype and Messenger are coming together. Millions of Messenger users will be able to reach their Messenger friends on Skype. By updating to Skype, Messenger users can instant message and video call their Messenger friends.” Bates believes that the move will make things simpler, and improve the overall experience for all users — pre-existing Skype users and Messenger users.
Bates further said that Skype personnel will be readily available on hand over the next few months to make the transition from Messenger to Skype as simple as possible. He also hints that there may be some “special offers,” most likely in the form of free minutes, on offer to those who make the switch.
Surprisingly, many are perplexed about those who already have a Skype account and a Windows Live Messenger account? In fact, Microsoft has provided instructions in the blog post on how to migrate your Messenger contacts over to Skype. If you already have accounts for both Skype and Messenger, you can merge your accounts together into one Microsoft account.
Besides, the move to Skype may be an annoyance to some users, but it is best for Microsoft. Having two IM clients is a redundancy. Moving everybody to Skype lets Microsoft push its far more valuable IM client while delivering more ads to its users.