Users of Windows Live Messenger may have received an email in their inbox’s today from the Messenger team telling them it is time to “upgrade” to Skype. The email informs users that the program will be retired on March 15th and they will be migrated to Skype, linked to their Microsoft accounts. This means Messenger will be shut down in just 66 days. It will only keep working afterwards in mainland China.
This move has been inevitable ever since Microsoft acquired Skype back in May 2011 for $8.5 billion, however, with over 100 million active users, it is still a popular application. Many previous users have moved to alternatives such as Facebook chat, however, the amount that Microsoft were willing to part with to acquire Skype, shows that there is plenty of money to be made through instant messaging and VoIP applications. Additionally, Skype’s mobile applications are vastly superior to those of Messenger, being available on all platforms and heavily integrated into the latest version of Windows Phone.
Messenger users will simply have to download and install Skype and log in with their Microsoft account. Their Messenger contacts will be available as Microsoft will transfer these over automatically. Any users wanting to use Messenger after the March 15th deadline will be given a notification to download and use Skype.
The salient points of the email are below:
“On 15th March 2013 we are retiring the existing Messenger service globally (except for mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available) and bringing the great features of Messenger and Skype together. Update to Skype and sign in using a Microsoft Account (same as your Messenger ID) and all your Messenger contacts will be at your fingertips. You’ll be able to instant message and video chat with them just like before, and also discover new ways of staying in touch with Skype on your mobile and tablet.”
The email also includes the following FAQ:
“So, what’s happening between now and 15th March?
Messenger will continue to work as you know it today. If you are signed in with Messenger on your desktop** you will see a banner notification to upgrade. When you click on the banner, an installer window will open with the request to upgrade. This will take you through our installer flow to install Skype and automatically uninstall Messenger.
So, what’s happening after 15th March?
Messenger users on desktops** will not be able to sign in and will only be able to upgrade to Skype. If you attempt to sign in, a notification will appear, and if you continue, you will be taken through our installer flow to install Skype and automatically uninstall Messenger at the same time.
Can I update to Skype on my mobile?
Yes! Skype is available on iPhone, Android and soon on Windows Phone 8. We encourage you to download the latest Skype app on your mobile and then uninstall Messenger. You will be able to sign in to Skype on your iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 8 mobile apps with your Microsoft Account over the next few weeks. If you use another phone with Messenger on it, it will continue to work for a while.
* To get group video chat, you’ll need a Skype Premium subscription.
** Newer versions of Messenger will be able to receive the optional upgrade notifications. Older versions will not receive the notifications and you will have to download Skype manually.”
Thanks for reading,
the better twin.