Microsoft had earlier announced its plans to retire its beloved Windows Live Messenger, however, no exact date of retirement was given. But now Microsoft has disclosed the date as well. And the date of retirement of Windows Live Messenger is 15th March 2013. In an email to all the users, Microsoft has announced that the service will become unavailable from this date except mainland China where it will continue to remain available.
Microsoft has urged the users to shift to skype for the video chats and instant messaging needs. Microsoft has been promoting Skype as the one stop solution for all messaging needs after it acquired Skype.
The retirement of Windows Live Messenger means that essentially more than 100 million Windows Live Messenger users will shift to Skype after the discontinuation. Microsoft has recently released an update to its Skype for Windows 8. A preview version of Skype app for Windows Phone 8 has also been made available. Microsoft has also carved out other big plans for Skype. It is likely to get Outlook.com support as well as a client for Xbox is likely to be unveiled during later part of this year.
Skype has around 280 million users which is around 100 million more than when Microsoft purchased Skype back in May 2011 for $8.5 billion. All current Windows Live Messenger accounts will work on Skype. All the messenger contacts will also be ported to Skype. The only way to contact your messenger contacts after March 15 will be through Skype because the desktop version of Windows Live Messenger will stop working on that date. The email sent out by Microsoft to its users is reproduced here:
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.
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.
Image at Skype