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Wednesday, 07 November 2012 13:11

Skype: Microsoft to silence Win Live Messenger in Q1 2013 Featured

Skype: you can merge your Messenger and Skype accounts in Skype version 6.0 Skype: you can merge your Messenger and Skype accounts in Skype version 6.0 Image Credit: Skype official blog

The Mayans may have made a miscalculation: it’s not the world that’s ending, but Windows Live Messenger which is not long for this world, with Microsoft dumping its “old” Messenger app in favour of its $8b Skype acquisition.

Farewell, Windows Live Messenger, you’ve ensured trillions of messages sent and received over many, many years, you’ve helped people talk by voice and video, but your hype is dying in favour of Skype.

Yes, Skype, the world’s most popular Internet voice and video calling software, acquired by Microsoft for US $8b last year.

Given Skype’s stunning popularity, and given Microsoft spent so much money buying it, it makes sense to retire Windows Live Messenger. Indeed, it’s something I expected would happen one day, enabling Microsoft to consolidate its messenger apps.

The news comes from Skype’s official blog, which also informs us of the crucial information that “millions of Messenger users will be able to reach their Messenger friends on Skype”, and that by updating to Skype, “Messenger users can instant message and video call their Messenger friends.”

Skype version 6.0 on Windows and Mac is the new Skype version that is bringing both messaging apps together, a version that will finally let you use a Microsoft account to sign in so your Messenger contacts appear in Skype’s comms window.

And, while Messenger is due to go dark sometime in Q1, 2013, Chinese Messenger users are being given a reprieve, with Microsoft stating Messenger’s availability will continue in China.

Messenger users updating to Skype (and all those updating to the new Skype version) can expect, according to Microsoft, the following features:

- 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

Microsoft says there’ll be plenty of help and info during the next few months of “transition”, as well as “special offers later this year as you join your Messenger friends in the migration” – which I can only imagine will be to do with discounted plans, calling rates and more to sweeten the migratory deal.

Indeed, Microsoft hopes Messenger users will start downloading Skype version 6.0 to “experience for yourself”.

Skype’s blog post has some screenshots that show how Messenger users can log in to Skype and see all their Messenger contacts ready to be, well, contacted, and how to merge your Skype and Messenger accounts together.  

So, the merging of Microsoft’s Skype and Messenger lines has at last been officially flagged, with Messenger set to send its last message everywhere but China in Q1, 2013.

So, while you can presumably “put that in your Skype and smoke it” if you’re not happy with the change, or heck, move to China, the message from Microsoft’s messaging is that Messenger’s last message is coming soon, with Microsoft clearly hoping that you get the message!

The newest WIndows Live Messenger-compatible version of Skype can be downloaded here.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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