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Microsoft Messenger will be retired and users migrated to Skype on March 15 (thenextweb.com)
57 points by AhtiK 1536 days ago | hide | past | web | 64 comments | favorite

My Windows phone has access to Live Messenger baked-in.

I never use it (I use Skype IM on the computer) but it's there, showing my status as "available," allowing me to publish a custom status message, check-in to places, and all the usual functionality.

It's a cheap model, and attempting to get Skype from the Marketplace results in a "your phone doesn't have enough memory to run this app" error.

Does this mean that I'll not be able to use instant messaging from the phone at all now? I'm not interested in the voice/video features of Skype on my mobile, but I do use Skype IM and it'd be nice to use it mobile.

Or - will I be able to use Skype IM from the phone without needing an extra app, instead of WLM?

You fell victim of Microsoft's "upgrade" policy. Either upgrade your phone (ideally something than Microsoft's).

Anyone have any idea what will happen to the various XMPP MSN-proxies used to hook your gtalk account up to MSN etc?

I'd love to have the same for Skype, but last time I checked, Skype had them all (all unofficial clients) banned...

I remember using bitlbee with Skype. The problem was I had to keep the official Skype client running. I believe it was the same for pidgin's Skype plugin?

Major annoyance.

I don't know about XMPP transports specifically but this is mostly a frontend app change and not the backend. The MSN/Messenger servers are still the core of all of the messaging platforms and will stay in operation.

That's a good question. MS started to move in the right direction with XMPP support, even though they didn't get up to supporting federation. If that will be dropped - it would be just another proliferation of the isolated IM networks.

According to http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/01/micros... they will drop XMPP support.

Users who log into Skype with their Microsoft account are offered a merge with the Skype account to have all the MSN and Skype contacts combined.

The fun bit is the last step: "From now on, please use your Microsoft account "Firstname Lastname" to sign into Skype" -- I was afraid to test this but looks like the Skype account gets deleted after this step and you have to use myname@hotmail.com when sharing your Skype details.

EDIT: Turns out that both Skype and Microsoft accounts will remain working in parallel. One can log in with either of these (at least from desktop Skype clients).

My guess is this message means Microsoft are looking to retire Skype accounts in favor of Live accounts only, which makes sense to me.

Skype account won't get deleted - you can unlink them: http://tinyurl.com/b5sthur

I wonder if they are they retiring the old messenger protocol as well. Currently, I use Pidgin with my Live Messenger account, but perhaps that will stop working come March 15th.

Yes, Pidgin will stop working. I'm not aware of any Skype IM clients other than Skype itself.

Trillian claims to support Skype. I havn't tried since Trillian really went downwards after version 3 - when they started with "astra", included ad-ware(opencandy), bloated the client and required all account information and communication to go through their own servers.

Until this day Trillian 2-3 still beats any IM-client i've ever tried. It's fast, has plenty of features, plugins and is customizable in just the right places.

Back then using a third party client was a must since the official Windows Messenger client was completely useless, same story for icq and aim. I wouldn't say the official Live messenger client is good today, but it is good enough to make me not crave for a 3:d party client, I simply don't care anymore.


Trillian (at least on Windows) is a great Skype IM client -- much better than Skype itself, IMO (not that that's saying a lot).

That's unfortunate, but I'd guess that the number of 3rd party clients on the Messenger service is pretty small.

This is why using Skype isn't practical. Do you really want to have that gigantic app open all the time?

Well, you have a choice. Skype for Windows Desktop, or Skype for Windows 8.

imo.im is an IM web app that supports Skype. There are a couple plugins for native IM clients that add Skype support, but they all require that you also run the real Skype app.

Aside from imo.im, there's also plus.im [1]. I don't consider it better than imo.im but, you know, options.

[1] https://plus.im/

It is a shame in the sense that it makes this tiny market even smaller. In fact the video-messenger market is now so small Skype and Google+ Hangouts are really the only viable competition (in the consumer space). I guess we also have FaceTime but Apple has made that Mac/iOS only which really limits its viability.

Kind of scares me considering how much I depend on this technology and how often Skype seems to break/fail/have issues. Also don't look forward to being forced to "merge" my Skype account into a Windows Account.

I honestly don't understand why this market isn't competitive? Is it patents on the streaming technology? Is it just how unreliable web-cameras are? Is it the cost of deploying the infrastructure?

> "I honestly don't understand why this market isn't competitive?"

You mentioned Skype, Google+ Hangouts, and FaceTime - none of which you have to pay for. This seems to suggest why there aren't more players on the field.

I think a lot of people use Yahoo Messenger for video-calls, but that number may be waning. I wouldn't worry too much about it. I think WebRTC will disrupt all proprietary video-calling products, or at the very least it will force them all to work through WebRTC and be inter-operable, which would still be a major win for users.

I expect Microsoft to be the very last one to adopt it, though. They probably won't even support it in IE until IE11 next year, at least.

Sadly there's a good chance that Apple will put up a strong fight to be the last to support it.

I hope they take this event as motivation to fix a few issues with skype.

1) Send messages to offline contacts. If they try to replace a messenger application this is a must. So far I always thought this isnt a wanted feature as skype is mainly thought of as a video chat application.\

2) Read/Unread messages. Syncing which messages are read/unread over multiple devices doesnt work at all. If I have a couple of conversations on one pc and i later turn on my laptop, I drown in all the skype new message notifications. Plus there is some weird behaviour here sometimes with old messages. Few days ago I got a new message notification for something I received at least a year ago and havent looked at since.

Does this mean that Skype - Lync Online (Office 365) federation will be live by then? Right now Messenger is the only outside service organizations using Lync Online are allowed to federate to (IM and presence only) [1].

I know plans have been in the work for a long time now to add Skype federation, but something seems to have stalled it --perhaps that 600M+ Skype users is a scary federation partner to a service a couple orders of magnitude smaller.

[1]: http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-enterprises/...

66 days isn't a lot of time. For a start up I can understand, but from MS I thought they would give people that arent happy with skype a chance to think about it.

I think this was first announced in November (not much more time, but at least it's over 100 days). This is confirmation of the exact deadline. Edit: Yep, that's what the article says and here's the HN discussion. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4753236

ah cool thanks for that, I didn't realise!

It would be most interesting to see a postmortem about why Live Messenger failed. As I can recall, it is a compelling product against AOL and Yahoo! IM. It is also competitive globally (well, I mean the U.S. and China). It has a competitive web existence for a long time as well (MSN Spaces), and its status update was, basically, the grandfather of Twitter / Facebook status.

It didn't fail. To the best of my understanding, it's a very successful project.

What happened is that Microsoft bought Skype, and it clearly feels that of the two brands, Skype is the more valuable (for what they paid, it better be). Having two brands of instant messengers (and two code bases, etc.) with the same target market is redundant, so one of them is being retired.

Not growing is, in itself, a failure. Live Messenger had a chance to become what is SNS today at its time. But several missteps followed and a year ago, it closed its web existence (to Wordpress), and now this.

That's a creative use of the term "failure". Messenger is "failing" with an order of magnitude (or two) more users than most successful online products have.

Live Messenger had essentially become irrelevant long before the Skype purchase. Most of my contact list had moved to gtalk, and of course for a lot of people in the in-Facebook functionality replaced it.

I wouldn't call a product with 300+ million active users irrelevant. However, it wasn't on a significantly upward trajectory anymore.

Google was very smart to tightly (and smoothly) integrate its chat service into its mail service. They did an excellent job leveraging a successful product to turn what was basically a me-too product into another very successful product. Ditto for Facebook, I guess, although I think they were actually pretty late to the game, considering how obvious a fit it was.

I have to be a little skeptical about Microsoft's claims. I was one of those active users in that I'd registered my hotmail account when I installed Windows 7, and Messenger came along for the ride - as with tens if not hundreds of millions of others - however it had long been replaced with other services.

Not least because it became more and more obnoxious. It was a very self-important little IM.

I'm confused. Were you logging in every month to a product you didn't use? If not, you weren't in the active users set.

You aren't confused, though apparently that is sarcastic?

Windows 7 automatically logs into Messenger if you follow the default behaviour and associate your hotmail account.

I wasn't being sarcastic. I was legitimately asking what the scenario is that would have you logging into Messenger on a regular basis while never using it.

I'm still not clear what scenario has you logging into Messenger automatically on Windows 7. Were/are you running the Messenger client? I'm not aware of any Win7 SKU that shipped with Messenger. That's part of Windows [Live] Essentials. Maybe some OEMs shipped with this preinstalled? I don't recall Windows 7 by itself ever asking me to provide it with my LiveId/Microsoft Account.

It's Windows 8 that does it. Windows 7 and earlier require Windows Essentials to be installed.

Did it fail, or is Microsoft just saying "why do we have two brands for the same product?"

It's widely used in Latin America. AOL and Yahoo! IM were almost never used there, and MSN had almost all the marketshare a few years ago (before people started using Google Talk and Facebook).

It failed in the same sense Myspace failed: didn't adapt, and something better/cooler/trendier came along. Facebook ate the market for teenagers instant messaging, and Gmail crushed hotmail.

Besides, its popularity was, like everything else, depending on countries. When I was a teenager in France, nobody had ever heard of Yahoo! or AOL IM. Everybody was on MSN, with ICQ a far, "geeky", second.

Their status updates started with changeable display names. People kept using their display name as statuses.

Who knows why none of the IM products expanded into social networks. They basically did what facebook did well before facebook existed.

There was MSN web messenger and it was fantastic. I guess they never went as far as making your conversations more permanent or merging them with your profile (and to be fail, there would have been user outcry if your one-off private conversations were suddenly held forever)

I think at the time before facebook/twitter/etc., solving the scaling problem was much harder. I recall reading something years and years ago about how they wanted to have celebrity accounts that you could add as a friend, but solving the problem of "britney spears logs on and notifies 1M accounts" was too expensive.

For example, see here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mayurk/archive/2005/03/22/400685.asp...

In 2005, the contact limit was doubled to 300. There are probably hard technical reasons why they couldn't have social networks like twitter and facebook do today.

I think we're seeing maturity of the IM market, and a phase of consolidation. It was always crazy that there were five or six separate networks doing the same thing.

I think Live Messenger(the product) succeeded immensely with tens of millions of users. However, Live Messenger(the business) failed. People don't like to click on ads, and the server and engineering costs are non trivial.

I don't think AOL, Yahoo Messenger, Gtalk or Google+ hangouts, FaceTime are making any money(if they're not losing money i.e). Notice how each one of them is owned by a megacorp and is/was part of a bigger ecosystem that subsidizes it.

I even wonder if Skype is a viable business by itself, though they have Skype credits for calling regular phones.

It doesn't seem to be possible to merge two Live Messenges accounts into one Skype account. I have merged one of my accounts in, but I have two accounts in order to separate people from different parts of my life. It also only seems possible to launch one instance of the Skype client at one time. How am I meant to continue using both accounts once Live Messenger goes away?

Create another Skype account and merge it in, presumably.

You can't merge two Skype accounts though, and can only be signed into one at a time

Turns out I'm wrong, you can run multiple instances of Skype using the --secondary flag. Still less convenient than singly using one client

I did this on my work laptop and my home PC - the former went OK, I now have a few duplicate contacts in Skype but that's no problem, however on the latter my Skype only shows previous Skype contacts, no MSN contacts, meanwhile it won't let me start up Messenger. So not too happy with their process right now.

I did this on my work laptop as well. The process was painless, however, the lack of interop with Live Messenger is quite frustrating. Not everybody in my company has migrated so that means that if I want to add somebody still on Messenger, I have to go to the live.com website and login to do it. I can't add them in Skype. On top of that, I can't share files with people on Messenger, which is super annoying. I hope that things get better in 66 days!

I miss MSN chat. My friends have all long since migrated to Facebook. All I want is instant messaging.

Download pidgin and login with your facebook account.

The whole point was to avoid Facebook.

I expect that to go down poorly.

Is that because March 15th is the Ides of March?

Would be interesting to know how many users are using MSN - seeing numbers over 300 million reported in 2010. Wonder if Skype can handle the traffic?

What about the Kinect video chat? Isn't that based on Messenger? I would be happy to see that change to Skype.

To my amazement , Trilian has Skype support without the need of your Skype runing. Go give it a try!

Well I guess this means I won't have to worry for much longer why bitlbee 3.0.6 broke MSN.

I guess this is the end of skype support for linux?

I'll be moving to hangouts if that's the case.

Nope, Skype actually had a major version update (which was well overdue) for Linux relatively recently, under MS ownership.

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