As a Windows Messenger user you have less than three months to get yourself acquainted with Skype. And you better do it fast since you’ll never have the opportunity to use Messenger again, unless you’re living in China. We reported in October that Messenger was being laid to rest and replaced with Skype, but Microsoft had not yet divulged an exact date. All we knew was that it would be sometime in the first quarter of 2013. But starting today Microsoft began sending out mass emails warning Messenger users of the messaging platform’s impeding retirement on March 15 of this year.
Skype is now Microsoft’s de facto platform for everything that has to do with messaging. With messaging apps these days no longer owning one piece to the messaging puzzle, apps today boast a multitude of functionalities. Video chatting, text messaging, VoIP calling, and other features have been adopted by Whatsapp, Nimbuzz, WeChat, LINE, and Kakao Talk, which now compete with Microsoft’s VoIP service. Even Facebook has updated its app to parallel existing features on the aforementioned popular mobile messaging apps. So it’s no surprise that keeping Microsoft’s messaging platform separate from Skype isn’t the best long-term strategy, which is why Microsoft is retiring Messenger altogether.
If you’ve been a Skype user, or followed this news, you’ll have noticed that Skype isn’t just for VoIP and video calls anymore. Skype users can now sign in with Facebook or Windows (with Messenger, Hotmail, or Outlook account). Doing so will port all of your contacts from the accounts that you’ve connected to Skype, which you can use essentially as a third-party messaging or video chatting client. If you’re a die-hard Messenger user you can look at the situation this way: While you’re losing the familiarity of the 13-year-old platform, your contacts will be transferred (if you login with Messenger) and you can still message them without any interference.
Until the complete transition to Skype take places on March 15, you can use Messenger as you would normally. You’ll just see the addition of a banner urging you to download Skype if you’re on the newer version of Messenger. If you don’t see the banner, that’s because you’re on an older version of Messenger, and you’ll have to take our word for it when we say that downloading Skype directly from its Website is in your best interest. Once March 15 rolls around you won’t be able to log into Messenger and instead you’ll be taken to a page that prompts an installation process for the Skype client onto your desktop. The same process will also uninstall Messenger from your computer forever.