Say goodbye to Windows Messenger, Microsoft to shut down service in March

Alex Masters

windows 300x225 Say goodbye to Windows Messenger, Microsoft to shut down service in MarchWindows Live Messenger, formerly known as MSN Messenger, will finally be shut down by Microsoft on 15 March, after serving Internet users for more than 13 years.

After its launch way back in July 1999, MSN Messenger quickly became the most popular online chat service in the world. Serving hundreds of millions of users across multiple platforms, in as many as 50 different languages, Windows Live Messenger was part of most people’s everyday lives online, but with the rise of social networks and competing services such as Facebook Chat, Skype, Google Talk and iMessage, Windows Live Messenger slowly faded into the background.

After Microsoft purchased Skype in May of 2011 from shareholders including eBay, Silver Lake Partners, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, it was clear that Windows Live Messenger’s day were numbered. This was officially confirmed by Microsoft back in November of 2012.

Microsoft provided a service that lets Windows Live Messenger users migrate early via a button that was added to the Messenger desktop app, but the move has not been plain sailing for some who have already made the jump. In some cases, contacts have not been transferring across the two services successfully.

If you still use Windows Live Messenger, it may be worth backing up your contacts manually ahead of the planned migration, and checking Skype and MSN forums for any tips to ensure that your move over to Skype is a painless one.

Existing Windows Live Messenger user accounts will be migrated to Skype ahead of the planned shutdown on March 15th. After this date, Messenger login attempts will be unsuccessful.

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  • SandySure


    Even teaches you how to turn off CapsLock.

  • zenithmaster

    “apparently in the Skype server, not on your PC”

    No history is kept on Skype either. Old conversations only reappear if they have been kept on the computer of the person who you were chatting with. They are not on the Skype server.

    As for the other thing, if it is a shared computer, why would you have auto login?

  • Sculptor471

    The two users who regularly report this both swear they have “no history” set. More investigation needed.

    It is not unusual for family members to borrow someone else’s switched-on PC temporarily for a particular non-Skype task. An unpredictable Skype history pop-up is at best a nuisance – and at worst an embarrassment.

    The solution for Voip only direct contact might be to implement WebRTC pages.

  • Anni Talysh

    What?! Here I’d thought Microsoft’s Messenger was already gone.

  • John Oliver

    Nice piece Alex! I’v used MSN for several years and its sad to see it go. Anyway, Skype is a much better bet for Microsoft

  • Chris Hennick

    In the US and Canada, Gmail Voice is a great option too — calls within North America are free (although they don’t have flat monthly rates for overseas as Skype does). Not only has it saved me money, but my USB headset is more ergonomical than my phone (which it won’t plug into), and the reception’s better if you live in a basement.

  • Sculptor471

    My previous reply has apparently been lost down a moderator hole as it had a link to a WebRTC article.

    I will check again with my users who complain of this problem. Previously they have assured me they have the “no history” setting at both ends.

    A family will often have a specialised application on one PC. Therefore other members of the family borrow access for that non-Skype purpose. If an unsolicited Skype history sudddenly pops up then it is at best a nuisance – and at worst an embarrassment. Trying to persuade them to use individual PC logins for each member of the family has proved too onerous for them.

  • Robin S

    I use messenger for it’s audio notifications of new hotmail. Will Skype offer this?

  • Sculptor471

    A controlled test suggests that Skype retains chat histories for as long as the “no history” local user is logged in to Skype. Just closing all chat windows does not erase those histories. With hibernate being used to keep PCs ready to use then Skype is rarely logged out deliberately.

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