Microsoft to retire the popular instant messaging service to make way for Skype.
Microsoft has announced that it would be retiring its Windows Live Messenger service soon. Users will be transitioned to Skype, which also provides (better) voice and video call capabilities.
One of the reasons cited to rest the popular messaging service is its dwindling user base. In 2010, Windows Live Messenger boasted an impressive 300 million users, but with the advent of new messaging platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, and BBM, the service is now only used by 100+ million users. To bring perspective, Skype has 280 million users.
Rest in peace good friend. We have good memories between us.
The news will surely make those who have grown up using Windows Live Messenger, or MSN Messenger as it was called previously, moist-eyed. Some of us had our first social activity on it, and it had come at a time when ICQ was loosing its flavor and was becoming a chore to manage contacts and chat. But for Microsoft, it makes sense to end operations, as users have not only moved onto other platforms, but Windows Live Messenger is far lagging behind in terms of features, speed and platform support.
Moving to Skype will have its benefits. Voice and video calling aside, Skype is also available on a broader range of platforms, and supports video calling from mobile phones and tablets, and to even Facebook friends. However, Skype has never been a ‘proper’ messaging app, so it remains to be seen how, and if, Microsoft beefs up that aspect of the software. Microsoft is also promising “special offers later this year” for Messenger users making the switch. This could be mean free Skype credits and access to other premium features.
Those looking for alternatives will find plenty. Two of the most popular messaging platforms are WhatsApp and Facebook, both of which boast robust messaging features, and is available on mobiles and tablets, too.
The only worrisome part about the move to Skype, for UAE users at least, is that neither of the two local telecoms allow users to download and use the service. Will Microsoft work towards making it available in countries where it is blocked is something of curiosity.