Windows Live Messenger Eclipsed by Skype

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is getting ready to ditch its instant messaging service. Now that it owns Skype, according to reports, Microsoft will be switching off the Windows Live Messenger service in March, 2013.

Windows Live Messenger first became available back in 1999, when it was known as MSN Messenger. Back then it was designed as a rival to AOL's highly popular messaging services.

The original MSN Messenger service allowed users to chat with other users via text messages in real time without a public chat room, or even email.

Over the years, Microsoft added more complicated features, including video and audio calls. It also made MSN Messenger more compatible with rival messaging services.

MSN Messenger's Popularity Now Declining

Earlier this year MSN Messenger was reportedly handling more instant messages than any other service. However, its popularity has been declining as people make more use of Skype, recently acquired by Microsoft.

One reason for this trend may be that people who enjoy using Skype for their video and audio calls also prefer to use one application for all their live communication.

Skype Deal Doomed Microsoft Messenger

Microsoft bought Skype last year for $8.5 billion, and now seems to have concluded that there is no point maintaining and promoting two rival services.

To ease the transition from MSN Messenger to Skype, Microsoft has now published clear instructions.

First, users need to download and install the Skype application. Next, select the option to sign in using a Microsoft account. Third, create a new Skype account and, fourth, merge in your details from Messenger, including your list of contacts. (Source:

Some customers are unhappy with the move. Many have complained they enjoyed having Messenger as a back-up in case Skype services were unavailable. Nevertheless, Messenger will stop working in the first quarter of 2013.

The only exception to this forced transition: China.

Technical restrictions there mean Microsoft will offer Messenger in partnership with a Chinese firm, and will offer Skype in partnership with another.

The software giant will need to work out deals with both Chinese firms if it wants to merge the two services. (Source:

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