Microsoft has announced that its 7 year old Windows Live Messenger will be no more, instead replaced with a Skype messaging tool. The Windows Live Messenger is finally meeting its end due to a stronger determination to focus efforts on Skype. Microsoft reports that Windows Live Messenger has remained a popular messaging choice, only being outranked by Yahoo Messenger. However, Windows Live Messenger has seen a significant drop of 48% of unique users these past few years. At the same time, Skype’s users have been growing steadily; particularly the ones that use the software to instant message one another.
“When a company has competing products that can result in cannibalisation it’s often better to focus on a single one,” said Brian Blau from the consultancy Gartner.
“Skype’s top-up services offer the chance to monetize its users and Microsoft is also looking towards opportunities in the living room.
“Messenger doesn’t seem like an appropriate communications platform for TVs or the firm’s Xbox console – but Skype does.”
Skype is offering a tool to migrate users WLM contacts to its service, which provides an easier transition to those who have been using Windows Live Messenger for years. Microsoft has also said they planned on integrating Skype with the new Windows Phone 8’s software, which will hopefully promote usage as well. While almost accidentally, this further decreases the need to amalgamate WLM with Microsoft’s previous operating system Windows 7.
The major risk that comes with this change is the chance users could end up moving to other rival messengers like AIM and Google Talk. Skype however is a major and widely successful instant messaging service that Microsoft believes should encourage people to join and interact with one another. Microsoft also has some faith in the Facebook tie-in they established last year, which allows Skype video calls to be utilized on the social network itself.
Windows Live Messenger will officially meet its doomsday in March of 2013, where it will disappear for everyone except China. I wonder why China is so special.
I personally use Skype very often and I think this is a great move for Microsoft. Most of the people I know use Skype, and I use it myself to stay in contact with a lot of people I met in the gaming industry. Further integration with other Microsoft products like the Xbox 360 and the Windows 8 operating system as a whole may abolish the need for Windows Live in general.[BBC]