back to article Microsoft shoots Windows Live Messenger, brings in Skype IM

Microsoft is reported to be retiring its popular messaging client in favour of Skype. Long-time Microsoft watcher Tom Warren writes here that the Windows Live Messenger service is to be wound up in the coming months and folded into Skype. An announcement is expected possibly as soon as this week. The Register contacted …


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  1. Irongut

    Only room for one VoIP service

    Except they will still have two - you forgot Lync.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only room for one VoIP service

      I guess the fact that Skype compatibility is built into Lync (that and Lync is Business orientated), so I guess they actually mean

      Only room for one domestic VoIP service

  2. Captain Black

    First major IM client?

    What about ICQ? Surely that was pretty big way before MSN.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Not sure about big before MSN?

      Wasn't it AOL who killed it in the end... like everything else they touched?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Costs

        Was big before MSN.

        AOL took over and it got all spammy around 2000ish.

        I still have my 7 digit ICQ number somewhere.

        I though MSN was dead these days? I haven't used mine in about 5 years, using a combination of email, skype, the book of faces, text messaging etc.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: Costs

            I see your 6303624, and raise you my 0078685 :-)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Costs


              Did they use leading zeros?

              Or did they just treat the login number as a long integer?

  3. Bod


    "Today, Windows Live Messenger can connect to ..., MySpace "

    Awesome! That's just what I need.

  4. Tom 35

    Microsoft has rebranded its Messenger in keeping with the times...

    So they are not killing it, just changing the name to Microsoft Skipe Messenger.

  5. Silverburn

    Ok, who seriously did not see this coming. I'm just surprised it took so long after the skype purchase.

  6. Jess

    What does this actually mean?

    The service is being pulled?

    The services are being merged?

    Will you be able to merge a Skype and an MSN account?

    Will old clients continue to work?

    1. dogged

      Re: What does this actually mean?

      you can already merge a Skype ID with an MSN ID.

    2. Test Man

      Re: What does this actually mean?

      The app is being pulled. Essentially there'll be no more updates to Windows Live Messenger, although for a few months at least it'll continue to work. There's no such thing as an MSN account, but you can merge a Skype and Microsoft account through the Skype interface.

      Probably eventually you'll be forced to use a Microsoft account in order to log into Skype in the same way Google forced everyone to use Google accounts to log into YouTube.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MSN and Skype privacy

    Messenger has gone too far down the path towards a FaceBook style. The sudden changes in privacy and opening up contact lists to "Friends of Friends" are most annoying.

    However it still has one major advantage over Skype - you can choose to erase your message history.

    Skype appears to have no way of permanently erasing message history going back 12 months. Worse still -an old conversation will suddenly pop-up on another PC even days later. The whole point of IM is that messages should be transient.

    1. undeadMonkey93

      Re: MSN and Skype privacy

      This took me all of 30 seconds to find.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: MSN and Skype privacy

        Thanks for the link. Can't understand how we overlooked that Skype option - everything else in Privacy was customised a while ago..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: MSN and Skype privacy

        Unfortunately that Privacy History option does not solve the full Skype problem.

        It appears that a chat session's history is only cleared when Skype is logged out. If you just close the chat window it will still redisplay that session if you reconnect to that user in the future - even after hibernation.

        If you Quit Skype on the PC the conversation is still not purged completely. Some tail-end parts of the conversation still remain when you start/login Skype again on that PC.

        It gets even messier. Another PC had been logged-in to Skype and then hibernated - several days before the current chat conversation. When you unhibernate that PC - then Skype pops-up unbidden and shows the whole of the conversations that were generated while it was offline. That is in spite of the first PC having logged out of Skype before the second PC was unhibernated.

        The two PCs now simultaneously show different chat window histories. The one on which Skype was Quit after the session shows only a vestige of the chat. The unhibernated one shows the full conversation - in which it had not participated.

        It apears that one has to logout of Skype on a PC after a session to purge the history. Even worse - one has to logout of Skype on any other PCs before hibernating them - else it will automatically regurgitate any conversations that happened while it was in hibernation.

        My head hurts. :-(

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: MSN and Skype privacy

          "The two PCs now simultaneously show different chat window histories. The one on which Skype was Quit after the session shows only a vestige of the chat. The unhibernated one shows the full conversation - in which it had not participated."

          The implication there is that Skype servers always keep the history of all your chat sessions - irrespective of your Privacy option settings. The user Privacy No History option appears to only control what you see in your chat session window. Shades of FaceBook data retention?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MSN and Skype privacy

      Agreed. The friends of friends feature has to be one of the most mentally retarded features to ever grace an IM client. I always have that blocked.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: MSN and Skype privacy

      The whole point of IM is that messages should be transient.

      I only use IM for work, and occasionally for academic discussions. In both cases I want my message history to last pretty much forever. It uses negligible storage, and it's always possible some of that information will be useful later.

      Mind you, I do not encourage the use of IM for these purposes. (Or indeed for any purposes, since I've never had a good use for it, but that's a different argument. Email is more useful, but similarly abused - technical discussions that should be organized and preserved take place over long, wandering, unorganized email streams, where they're not easily accessible to non-participants who might want the information for future reference.) But people do not, in general, use the best tool; they use the one to hand, or the one they're most comfortable with, or the first one they see. So since I can't force people to use IM only for transient messages, I want my IM clients to keep them around. (And they do, because I use Skype and Pidgin with appropriate settings.)

  8. Reue

    Stopped using the messenger when it tried to be too many things to too many people.

    I want to log on and easily chat to those online. I didnt want to be spammed with photos, news, shopping offers and facebook-style status updates from contacts.

    1. Dirk Vandenheuvel

      Wow... you didn't bother clicking one button to go back to the "old" look?

  9. BigBananaFeet

    Oh no it wasnt the first IM Service!

    The first major IM sevice was ICQ, MSN was not long after but was definately later

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: Oh no it wasnt the first IM Service!

      I seem to remember using "talk" which was only 1 to 1, and then "conf" which allowed conferences a very long time ago (calling myself Coffeesaurus) about the same time that NCSA released mosaic.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Oh no it wasnt the first IM Service!

        Clearly the only way the article's "first major" claim makes any sense at all is by careful definition of "major". UNIX had its local-system-only version of write(1) in the First Edition, which didn't use the "conversational" style of modern IM clients, but did let you send messages instantly to other users. Then talk(1) came along, which did have that conversational presentation. Network-enabled talk for UNIX appeared in 1983, a few years before MSIM. talk is really an "instant character" rather than "instant message" service, but from the user's point of view it looks much the same.

        Older OSes like Multics had similar features, as did contemporaries like VMS.

        IRC was introduced in 1988, and it's hard to see how it's not "major", unless you subscribe to All The World's A (Windows) PC.

        Also back in the '80s, Microsoft's networking stacks for MS-DOS and Windows had the "messenger" service, which was in effect a LAN IM client and server. OK, NetBIOS was actually invented by Sytek - but the point is MSIM isn't even Microsoft's first IM client.

        Of course the line is a throwaway; whether Microsoft had the "first major" IM client, by whatever definition, is pretty much irrelevant to their plan to discontinue it, or for most other purposes. But here on the Internet we will not countenance historical inaccuracies![1]

        [1] Locating the appropriate xkcd comic is left as an exercise for the reader.

  10. Mectron

    Only Microsoft

    it stupid enough to kill it's more popular product.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    If they cancel it...

    Then I think they really don't know what they're doing.

    I mean; why can't they simply merge the two products? So keeping both Skype and Messenger alive while changing the voip core of Messenger with that of Skype?

    Then people can continue using either their Skype or Messenger client and MS keeps everyone happy.

    1. tom 78

      Re: If they cancel it...

      Then they wouldn't get their upsell for skype credit would they

  12. Flawless101

    I used messenger until very recently, when they start forcing the upgrade to live, I was still on version 9.0~ using apatch to get rid of all the crap like adverts.

    Still using the MSN account with Pidgin. Many good memories when MSN was the coolest thing in the world, and it was the number of "friends" you have on there, not facebook is what made you cool.

  13. Spoonsinger


    I never got to use Windows Live Messenger. (Probably because I didn't have any use for it - but still, sad).

  14. localzuk Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Big MSN fan here

    Facebook chat is awful. Skype chat is nowhere near as friendly. The new MSN client (it'll always be MSN to me)/messaging app in Windows 8 is awful. All features seem to have been removed. Send or receive a file? Nope.

    Might just set up my own chat server using Jabber to chat with my friends then!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pidgin plugin

    Does this mean that Skype will work properly with Pidgin, et al?

    1. P. Lee

      Re: Pidgin plugin

      Of course not, that's the whole point!

      You can still climb out of the walled garden, it will just be a little awkward and undignified.

  16. url

    there has been a fudge in all IM user data for years

    and I can appreciate that MS is pushing against the fudge (in some regards), but the QQ install base is pretty phenomenal.

    until the data gets away from installed, and moves exclusivity into active, then it remains a fudge.

    the best data i have seen to date:

    (use a hover thing to verify - it's a goog docs/pdf thing from MS research)

    my only issue is that its from 2007 and obv misses tencent's huge rise (and renren's), and neither can be ignored in any reasonabe long term estimation.

  17. Dibbles

    WL killed off?

    "even after the killing off of the Windows Live brand..."

    erm... still seems to be alive and well, appearing as a logo in the top left of the Hotmail home screen.

    Any other useful titbits of information from the future? Who wins the 2016 US presidential election?

    1. CheesyTheClown

      Re: WL killed off?

      You mean the top left corner of the other service Microsoft had already announce killing off in favor of

  18. DirkGently


    I still get nostalgic about MSN IRC (not the comic chat though - that was crap).

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The single biggest frustration with Skype for me is if you tab back to it, it assumes your typing is for searching contacts rather than say the active chat.

    And requires you re select that box. Very annoying.

    Sad to see MSN go though. Once you'd removed all the guff it was decent.

  20. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Bye bye privacy - not that you had any to start with..

    A cross-platform tool that is aimed at running continuously on all computing platforms, with only vaguely defined functionality, in the hands of a US company.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skype is permanently on on a Win8 phone ?

    As in I can't shut down the process or anything ? Aren't all the various contacts meshed together in the Win8 phone, if so does that mean that Skype, or indeed Facebook and the like, just siphon up all my contacts ? Do not want if so.

  22. marc 9

    this already happened in windows 8

    The messaging app is basically MSN without the bloatedness.

  23. Mabit

    Spammy Spammy

    The reason a lot of us use skype is the security and the lack of spam. I have lost count of the number of people who had their MSN accounts hacked and on the rare occasion I have to log into MSN I am swamped with BOTS asking me to look at them in their underwear.


  24. Blitterbug

    Oh, great. More bloatware...

    ...Love it or hate it, WLM serves as a useful notification for incoming hotmail or outlook mail as you don't need to keep a browser or Outlook open (when your Outlook email is a hotmail account, anyway). If this functionality is brought into Skype, I'm going to need bloody Skype open all the time. And it's already a greedy little fucker. A typical 1GB Win XP box is rendered all but unusable when Skype is set to autostart. I even begrudge it on my 16GB Win 7 desktop, and run it only when expecting a business call.


  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So where does Tango fit into this?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not good

    We operate in places that block Skype (including bits of Africa where VPN is just too slow) but where MSN/Live still works. Just like your Web browser, it's not a good idea to rely on one messaging platform.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    would be nice if..

    Skype didn't crash all over the place. I have clients that use messenger for quick chats as skype goes belly up after a few minutes.

    Need to look at google talk, maybe that's the way to go. definitely no skype

    1. jb99

      Re: would be nice if..

      Agreed, hello google talk.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: would be nice if..

      Not so long ago I used Skype uninterrupted for 11 hours straight. No fuss, no hassle.

      Your computer is broken.

  28. Confuciousmobil


    Windows Live Messenger has Solitaire Showdown. It's the only reason I bought a new laptop as its one of the few things I can't do on my iPad.

  29. Maryland, USA

    We'll always have Communicator...or WILL we?

    What will become of the company's corporate chat client, Microsoft Office Communicator?

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