The Korea Herald


Goodbye, MSN Messenger!

Microsoft discontinues Windows Live Messenger service starting April 8

By Korea Herald

Published : April 10, 2013 - 20:27

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It is never easy to say goodbye.

It is especially hard when it has been 14 years since people starting using Microsoft’s instant messaging service named Windows Live Messenger, better known as MSN Messenger.

The U.S.-based software giant officially announced that it would be cutting the messenger service beginning April 8, merging it with Skype.

Those still using the messenger see a message at the bottom of the program window that reads, “Move between instant messaging, voice and video. Upgrade to Skype.”

“The company’s move to converge the two platforms started to apply in Korea beginning April 8 and the users will receive a message to upgrade their messengers as a measure,” said Microsoft Korea spokesperson Lee Seung-yeon.

“Since acquiring Skype over a year ago, the firm has been unifying the messenger platform to allow people to make use of the different technologies owned by Skype, such as Internet calls.”

She also said that the messenger would be automatically upgraded if the users chose not to upgrade it themselves, but that the grouping of contacts would disappear in that scenario.

Microsoft has been promoting Skype since its acquisition of Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion in October 2011. Since then, it has offered the option to merge Skype and Microsoft accounts, and has been discontinuing development and distribution of Windows Live Messenger around the world, excluding mainland China.

The service had up to 300 million active users worldwide in its most successful period.

Industry experts say the rise of mobile messengers ― like Kakao Talk, Line and WhatsApp ― have contributed to Microsoft’s decision to terminate the service.

With smartphones becoming an essential part of people’s everyday lives, many are connecting to one another through the mobile messengers.

Kakao Talk has hit the jackpot in Korea while NHN’s Line messenger has swept neighboring Japan.

Kakao, for its part, has lately been moving beyond mobile and bringing its service to computers.

“Even we could see that many threats are being posed against the instant messengers. And these won’t be the only threats that are challenging the good old messengers,” said an industry watcher.

Facebook is also a huge challenge for firms like Microsoft due to its large active user base.

Its message system is widely used as a communication tool by the many users visiting the site frequently throughout the day.

Adding to such threats, there is the question of whether people will choose to use the merged Skype when they now have so many options.

“I have been using Windows Live Messenger for work and used it for personal use ever since I was in college. I will miss it dearly, but I’m not sure if I will choose to continue using the service through Skype now that there are so many other options available,” said 33-year-old Seoulite Kim Yeon-jin.

By Cho Ji-hyun (