We will retire Messenger in all countries worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 (with the exception of mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available).
The news comes 18 months after the software giant announced it was paying $8.5bn (£5.3bn) for the communications software developer. The decision is to focus on its efforts on Skype. The messenger had been among the earliest heroes. Reports say that, the move to migrate users from Windows Live Messenger to Skype began with the release of Skype 6.0 for Mac and Windows a few weeks ago. The Skype blog has put up an invitation to merge the accounts and also has given a walk through to the users about the switching process.
As stated in the Skype blog,
Once you update to Skype, here are some of the other great features Messenger users can expect:
• Broader device support for all platforms, including iPad and Android tablets
• Instant messaging, video calling, and calling landlines and mobiles all in one place
• Sharing screens
• Video calling on mobile phones
• Video calling with Facebook friends
• Group video calling
Although the WLM had been a once upon a time hero, the users had been coming down in the recent times and Microsoft believes that when a company has competing products it is better to focus on a single one.
“When a company has competing products that can result in cannibalization it’s often better to focus on a single one,” said Brian Blau from the consultancy Gartner.
The BBC news reports that,
“Skype’s top-up services offer the chance to monetize its users and Microsoft is also looking towards opportunities in the living room.
He also noted that the firm had opted to integrate Skype into its new Windows Phone 8 smartphone software. To ease the changeover, Microsoft is offering a tool to migrate WLM messenger contacts over.
The risk is that the move encourages users to switch instead to rival platforms such as WhatsApp Messenger, AIM or Google Talk.
But Microsoft is at least partially protected by its tie-up with Facebook last year. Skype video calls are now offered as an extra to the social network’s own instant messaging tool.
- Microsoft confirms Windows Live Messenger retirement in favor of Skype (theverge.com)
- Windows Live Messenger to be folded into the Skype brand (mobilesyrup.com)
- Skype to become the new Windows Live Messenger (phonearena.com)
- Windows Live Messenger to close (bbc.co.uk)