back to article Don't shoot the Windows Live Messenger, cry IM users

Microsoft has confirmed it will shut Windows Live Messenger on 15 March - and has already started merging its users' contacts into the voice-chat service Skype. The software giant warned as early as November that changes were afoot to the service formerly known as MSN Messenger. A new Skype app will become the default chat app …


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  1. Craig 12

    I won't be moving to Skype

    I think people will look back and see what a terrible move this is.

    MSN is still so popular, and with an unofficial app, can be very lightweight with no adverts, unnecessary features or bloat (the very opposite of skype).

    I still use MSN daily, even for work colleagues just down the corridor. I'd rather go to Google Talk than follow Microsoft into the mess that is Skype.

    (I'm also an old fogey who misses ICQ)

    1. Da Weezil

      Re: I won't be moving to Skype

      Whats to miss? a lot of us are still here, I'm sure my 7 digit UIN isn't the oldest one still in daily use by a long way.

    2. Nuno

      Re: I won't be moving to Skype

      I think the biggest problem will be for those using an msn client in their feature phones. There's no upgrade path for them...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I won't be moving to Skype

        I think the biggest problem is that Skype wont work at all on anything less than a high bandwidth link. MSN used to work fine wherever in the world I found myself so long as I could get a data connection of some sort over my tethered phone. Even a one stick strength edge signal would do.

        Skype on the other hand will usually log in at home over 5 meg ADSL but I'm yet to get it to sign in over a phone link, even 3G+ with a strong signal. I guess it assumes, being primarily a video call application, that you wish to make video calls. Not unreasonable under that assumption for signing in to be a bandwidth intensive process. A very short sighted choice of carrier for MS to bolt their IM function onto.

        The joy of msn messenger was that being low bandwidth anything upwards of wet string would suffice. Microsoft have created a nice gap in the market for some enterprising startup to fill. Sooner or later someone will fill that gap. In the mean time I'll be using plain text email a whole lot more.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much is MSN IM used now?

    Last time I looked at my MSN and Yahoo! IM contacts most were last seen >1000 days ago, with one 260 days ago. Seems folk have either already gone for Skype or are using Facebook's IM+email thing.

    1. Jess

      Re: How much is MSN IM used now?

      I use it quite regularly.

      I have multi messenger programs.

      I log into MSN, Yahoo, Skype, Gtalk, ICQ, Myspace, and VK at present.

      Gtalk is most used, then MSN, then yahoo, then skype. ICQ has been a long time quiet and I don't think I ever had a conversation on myspace. I only just replaced facebook with VK. But it seems quite well used.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Why the downvote for this reply?

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Why the downvote for this reply

          because this forum is more and more getting occupied by dickheads

      2. Jess

        Re: How much is MSN IM used now?

        Less than 3 hours after publicly stating ICQ has been quiet for ages, I got asked for my ICQ number and am having a conversation.

        1. Abot13

          Re: How much is MSN IM used now?

          I so miss the ICQ feature that let you automaticaly receive files even when absent,

        2. Jess

          after publicly stating ICQ has been quiet for ages

          And a 2nd new contact withing 24 hours

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    acquired by Microsoft in 2011

    And still no XBox version.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MSN ... is a website! The Messenger hasn't had the MSN branding for 7 years!

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: MSN ... is a website! The Messenger hasn't had the MSN branding for 7 years!

      The unix versions still call it "msn" - I still thought that was its official name!

  5. jb99


    I use msn all the time and everyone I know uses it rather than anything else.

    I will likely change to google talk and try to pursuade everyone to use that in future.

  6. David Austin
    Thumb Down

    Ignoring the glitch, I've got no problem with the merge in principle, but at the moment, the Skype client is missing (or doing a good job at hiding) more than a few features from Windows Messenger. Off the top of my head: Email notifications, Custom Fonts, Tabbed conversation Interface, Send Email, Photo sharing, sending files to MSN Contacts, Remote Assistance, nudges, and group chat.

    I'm not the only one pinning for features, either:

    As a video client, Skype is great, but at the moment, as an IM Client, it feels like a downgrade from MSN Messenger, and leaves a lot to be desired, with only vague promises of the shortcomings being addressed (

    Coupled with the fact that Microsoft quietly killed off Yahoo IM Support in December (, it's clear Microsoft are railroading users down this path to make their Skype investment worthwhile, with scant regard to what they want - A textbook case on how to mismanage migration.

    "The New Messenger is better"

    "How? Aren't there import problems? It's missing features. Are you adding them? What about my non MSN Contacts?"

    "...The New Messenger is better"

    1. Lexxy

      Reminds me of something else

      "... The new messenger is better".

      Sounds familiar:

      "... The new start menu is better".

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Spot on!

      To add to your list (and the feature which bothers me the most): Windows Phone 7 integration.

      There is a Skype client on Windows Phone but it hardly matches the functionality of the Messaging hub; the latter remains active whereas the first is merely an app. which can only run as long as the phone isn't in a locked state.

      And given the fact that Microsoft is fully betting on WP8 (and Windows 8 in general) I somewhat doubt that us WP7 users will keep the same functionality as we have now. Which I think is a total shame; instant messaging is often much easier (and cheaper!) than having to resort to text (SMS) messages. A contact simply types in a message using MSN on his PC and I receive it on my phone; no extra costs.

      In all fairness; Microsoft could come up with something new to surprise the WP7 users before the 15th of March, but given the fact that they still haven't managed to provide full synchronization between Outlook and a Windows Phone (think todo items for example) I wouldn't keep my hopes up.

  7. DryBones

    Is it just me, or is the video chat rather pants? Speech breaks up, lots of feedback

    1. Anonymous Coward

      welcome to video over the internet

    2. Blitterbug

      Re: is the video chat rather pants?

      Which? MSN's or Skype's? Both are really rather good. MSN's video chat was *always* better on a low bandwidth connection though.

  8. Trev 2

    So far not looked at Skype to see if it has a typing chat system, but really don't like the idea as lots of people will want to video chat suddenly which will be an even bigger pain. At least with MSN you can go into away mode and don't have to cover the camera or pretend it's gone down when you need to nip out for 5 mins.

    1. Rob

      Yup and no

      Yup Skype has a type chat feature and no you won't have to lie about you being away and covering your camera etc. When someone wants to video chat it comes through like a call and you accept the call if you want, obviously if you're set to away and don't answer your call then the caller will get the message that you are not about, so in that respect not much different from Live Messenger.

    2. Skoorb

      Luckily, you can disable automatic acceptance of video calls in the settings; all incoming video calls will then automatically fall back to plain voice calls.

      It's really good.

  9. DJO Silver badge

    Knock on effects?

    Never used MS Messenger but I do sometimes use Outlook Express as a newsgroup reader (yes, they still exist). Stinky old Outlook Express uses the Messenger executable for whatever it uses it for but won't run without it. I wonder if this will break Outlook Express?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Knock on effects?

      Looks like this won't matter in the future as they have replaced it post-XP

      So unless they remove your .exe (or maybe worse, decide not to patch security holes while allowing it still to run) it won't change for you.

    2. Test Man

      Re: Knock on effects?

      Outlook Express only uses the built-into-XP Windows Messenger client, which is a different client from MSN/Windows Live Messenger, if you let it.

      There's an option within Outlook Express to use Windows Messenger with Outlook on the first page (4th option down I think) - deselect it and voila! In fact by installing XP SP3 and also update Windows Messenger (the latest version is 5.1), you probably won't get the option but you also won't have the problem.

      Essentially Outlook Express automatically launching the Windows Messenger process hasn't been applicable for aaaaaages now.

      Launching the client is also totally different from actually signing in. The Messenger Service that the Windows Messenger/MSN Messenger/Windows Live Messenger clients connect to is being disbanded, so all it will do to the clients is stop them from logging in, not stop them from working.

  10. doowles

    I moved to skype a couple of months ago, works great and just as good as msn messenger. Only thing I miss is the nudge feature.

    All old contacts show up just like messenger, I really don't have a problem with skype.

    1. Oninoshiko


      so YOU'RE the one who like nudges.

  11. Matt 4

    the skype app on my nexus 7 is crap, with its permanently landscape view o.O unless it's been fixed since last time. So I don't use it... OH WELL! I stopped talkling to most people anyway.

    Skype and MSN both have similar problems anyway (the mad "I can talk to that person just fine, but all my messages bounce back from that person..." *restart* "Now they get to that person but not the other one" *restart* "Now I can't talk to anyone." etc

  12. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Looking at this from the wrong perspective

    What about all the Skype users now being asked to share a network with the plebs who use WLM. It's like a second eternal September.

  13. OffBeatMammal

    Skype doesn't get IM

    while I welcome the consolidation of clients so I've got less running in my systray Skype has got a long way to go on the IM front (I love the video chat) to make it anything other than a horrible waste of screen real estate.

    leaving aside such arrogant behavior as not starting minimized and not having a "hide to systray" option and all the comments on the skype forum pointed out above the biggest sin is lumping all the contacts into one bucket ... now I can't easily filter by "online" or show different statuses to Skype or Messenger (or Facebook), and on the subject of Facebook while it's handy sometimes I'd dearly love to be able to work out how to turn that integration off again!

    Skype as an IM client is messy and annoying. I find since I tried switching that I've been using gtalk and hangouts more so hopefully as well as a new windows phone app they've got new desktop clients coming soon that will suck less

  14. koolholio

    Wouldnt be too bad if the live id sign in worked half the time! LOL

  15. Mr. Nobby

    I didn't have any issues

    Switching to Skype was painless as hell. I prefer MSN though, Skype is too... chunky, and there don't seem to be OS alternatives to its client.

  16. localzuk
    Thumb Down

    Skype is a terrible IM client

    It is missing massive numbers of features that exist in the full 'MSN' client, whatever it is called now. It just isn't as good any more. Not everyone wants to video chat.

    Its also buggy, with messages randomly not sending etc... Not to mention it took me 2 days to get it to let me merge my accounts, with it constantly crashing during the login process.

    No, I'll be using GTalk, and getting my friends to use a Jabber client with most of the features we want.

    1. Philip Lewis

      Re: Skype is a terrible IM client

      worse, message get "lost" and reappear in the middle of chats at a later time. It is most disconcerting because the user at the other end thinks that the message has been received.

      generally the client quality on Win7 has been going down hill at every release.

      It is, to put it mildly, fucking awful now.

      My major problem is integration to BT devices. It crashes itself, BT and occasionally Win7 itself. Also, it seems not to be able to do video without a mic, something I do often from work where I do not wish for private conversations to be broadcast. I am of course willing to blame Win7 and its BT stack for all this, but the guilty party is at the same place.

      I am looking at cross platform alternatives ...

      1. BigAndos

        Re: Skype is a terrible IM client

        I have a lot of trouble with the Windows client too. I mainly used Live Messenger to talk to work contacts who are on Lync. However, when I talk to someone on Lync Skype will send the same message five or six times over a 15 minute time period. When I first contact someone, it starts sending them messages I sent yesterday!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Skype is a terrible IM client

        Here is one IM app that might tickle your fancy: Kakao Talk

        It's cross platform and has multilingual support.

        Microsoft thinks a rebranding or 'rebooting' of its existing products (Hotmail to Outlook, MSN Search to Bing, Messenger to Skype) will save its dwindling market share.

        It will be disappointed.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A new Skype app will become the default chat app for Windows Phone, set to rival iMessage on Apple iOS gear and BBM on RIM's BlackBerry smartphones. It should offer instant messaging, video chat and merged Skype, Windows Phone and Live Messenger contacts.


    Having recently gone from iPhone back to Android one of the only things I miss is the features and ease of use of imessage. Seeing when someone had read your text and messages synching across devices were really useful for me and the face time integration was spot on. Could do with something similar for android unless I'm missing it and its already under my nose? Microsoft seem to be heading down this route so surely Google will too? I'd heard of g talk but thought it was us only PC to landline or mobile calls?

    1. Affian

      Re: android?

      I f you want an IM client with good synchronization across devices (Windows, OSX, iOS, BB and Android) take a look at Trillian. My favorite thing about it is that it does a good job of working out what device I'm currently using so that my phone doesn't go off next to me all the time when I'm using it on my PC or Mac.

      I'll confess to being a bit of a fanboy for this client but I would welcome a more articulate and objective view if anyone has one.

  18. Combustable Lemon

    I'm probably the only one...

    but i abandoned msn a long time ago for... Steam of all things, between that and whatsapp on my phone i've managed to rid myself of MSN entirely. It was surprisingly easy and i recommend getting rid of it to anyone over using Skype, the bloated piece of rubbish it is.

  19. lorisarvendu

    deployment nightmare

    Foreign students in UK Uni often rely on Msnger to chat to home, and they can use the web-based version, which enabled us to stop deploying the app across our student PCs. Unless I can't find it, Skype doesn't seem to have a web-only version, meaning possible mass-deployment for us (and continual upgrades).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: deployment nightmare

      jesus christ what kind of an institution are you running? one stuck in 1998?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I refuse to use GTalk, looks like more time on whatsapp for me.

    This will kill any chance of my using Skype as a substitute for PSTN calls. I keep that stuff separate for a reason... I know the big corps feel they have a right to sweep all our data into one nice pile so they can figure ways to slurp it, but I wont be pushed like that. Time to make sure that the Skype account credit is used up

  21. xyz Silver badge

    I don't have any friends...

    ...and don't like people, should I bother about this?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward




  23. Bugs R Us

    IM side of Skype sucks

    The IM half of Skype is fine if you only use it once or twice a week for short chats. For frequent use it is AWFUL!

    MSN/Window Live Messenger is/was great at IM because it started life as an IM client and so IM was the thing it did best. Custom fonts and custom font colors were features that I personally find very useful as it made the chat stream easier to read. The Skype IM chat window is an ugly mess. Microsoft says you can use your Windows Live ID. Yes you can, but it's an extra mouse click away and if you log out the damn Skype client does not remember it.

    You'd have thought MS would have enhanced the Skype IM features before forcing people to switch. With the number of people now using Facebook's instant messaging I think fewer people with switch to Skype for IM than were using Live Messenger. I think MS will lose more users this way than it thought it would gain as Skype users.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS Messenger?

    Stopped using that years ago - tbh my primary form of txt communications nowadays is email and txts. EVERYONE has those!

  25. Inachu

    Every 2-5 years Microsoft has always been messing up their instant messenger.

    I would love to get the original one from Windows XP and just keep using that one.

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      I have to agree...

      The later versions had some nice features, but of late it had become too unwieldy, full of 'look what we can do' adverts using too much screen estate.

      Still better than the flakeware called Skype.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I have to agree...

        you've never heard of then in the last ten years or so?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The last good Messenger release was version 2009.

      Version 2011 was a piece of turd, which removed the handwriting feature, disallowed the changing of a username, and added silly 'social features' into it.

      And with A-Patch, the ads can be removed.

  26. Ilsa Loving

    Microsoft copying Apple YET AGAIN.

    I believe Apple has a patent on fscking up major rollouts, having screw up every single one that I am aware of (see .Mac, .Me, iCloud, Maps... I'm sure there are more...).

    And now Microsoft mangles their MSN-Skype merge. It would be nice to see Microsoft not copy some of the things Apple does.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft copying Apple YET AGAIN.

      If you are observant enough, in recent years Microsoft has also been copying the style of advertising, retailing from Apple. The MIcrosoft App Store, Microsoft retail stores, Surface, the revamp of its corporate logo etc. Everything has been a REACTION to Apple.

      Steve Ballmer is jealous of Apple and hates Google (Scroogled, Bing It On, Gmail Man, Googlighting). It's a shame Microsoft had wasted a decade with him in charge.

  27. EdFX

    Pasting Pictures

    ...we use all the time to manage development projects and one simple thing that so useful is...being able to just paste a picture straight into Live Messenger!

    It expands to show the images, we can share, amend quickly and send back...confirm and its done...all sorts of designs, workflows, pictures of wallboards from phones, you name it (all clothed !).

    In Skype...into menu, into add...file...browse for a file...well I have it in clipboard...back to app to save it to and upload...then I find that at other end they also have to save and then reopen anyone that stupid that you would go from what they have to this ?

    Its like a four year old coding with crayons....

    1. P. Lee

      Re: Pasting Pictures

      And file transfers don't seem to work through most home routers.

      Repeat after me... with a stateful firewall use UDP.

      Even Kermit can do inline file transfers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pasting Pictures

      If they're stupid enough to think that the Metro/Modern UI is good for a non-touch desktop environment, they're stupid enough for anything.

      Or maybe I'm too harsh. There are intelligent people working at Microsoft. Unfortunately, its leadership is filled with nincompoops. Nincompoops who are desperate enough to 'bet the farm' with Windows 8.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No more "Request Remote Assistance" from my Dad, I guess

    Now he'll have to get used to starting up a TeamViewer request instead.

  29. P. Lee

    Is it just my imagination

    or is skype not as good as it used to be?

    Presence data seems to be a bit rubbish and I get constant screen freezes but then I have a mac and linux. On the assumption that MS will operate true to form degrade the non-windows experience, its time to check out other systems.

    And how much do we love the "I'm going to slurp your addressbook" feature! NOT

    1. Rob Moir

      Re: Is it just my imagination

      I dunno, for me Skype has always seemed like sucky software since day one, so if you want to tell me it's awful, I won't argue with you at all, but I'd be hard pressed to say it's degraded. when it scraped the bottom of the barrel on day one.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if you have both?

    I can't be the only one that already has both. I use Skype and msn for very, very different things and ms can go spin if they think I'm going to merge the two!

  31. Confuciousmobil


    I use Live Messenger to play games all the time. Skype does not have games.

    Yet another example of MS taking away what we like and giving us something we don't.

  32. RobotHead


    I always hate it when hotmail logs me in to Messenger.

    i sure hope it doesn't log me in to skype instead.

  33. Nifty Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Skpe is p2p?

    It seems hard to get details nowadays on this. If a p2p app, capable of becoming a 'node' for other Skype users to find each other and set up connections through, it might explain why Skype hogs resources and why I keep it out of, or disabled on my older machines unless I am actively using it to make a call.

    My employer bans p2p programs from running on it's network so it would adiós MSN then.

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