Microsoft to shut down Messenger on March 15, move users to Skype

Microsoft to shut down Messenger on March 15, move users to Skype

Summary: Microsoft has confirmed that its Messenger application will be closed down within months, with users migrated onto Skype.

TOPICS: Microsoft, Software

Microsoft informed users on Wednesday that its Messenger service will be shut down on March 15.

Over 100 million users of the instant messenger client were notified by email that they would be moved onto Skype, which Microsoft acquired in October 2011. The exception is users in mainland China, who will still be able to use Messenger beyond March 15. 

Microsoft first announced the plans to merge Skype with Messenger in a Skype blog post in November. The company said it was aiming to complete the merger in the first quarter of 2013.

The email was sent with the subject "Important info about your Messenger Account" and began by telling Messenger users, "It's time to update Messenger to Skype!"

"Update to Skype and sign in using a Microsoft Account (same as your Messenger ID) and all your Messenger contacts will be at your fingertips. You'll be able to instant message and video chat with them just like before, and also discover new ways of staying in touch with Skype on your mobile and tablet."

Skype also allows users to call landlines and mobiles; hold group video calls; and conduct video calls with Facebook friends.

Skype started testing Windows and Mac beta releases in September, which allowed users to sign into their Skype accounts using their Windows Live ID. This enabled them to send and receive instant messages and check the availability of their contacts on Messenger, Xbox, Hotmail or

Topics: Microsoft, Software

Sam Shead

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  • Don't jump to merge just yet

    I'd hold off until the last minute. Since attempting to make the jump myself, I've had all of my WLM Messenger contacts removed from WLM and Skype, and I'm now unable to try to re-add them to WLM to merge them over properly. I've been in contact with Microsoft about a fix to get my contacts added once more, and all I've got from them is that they're "working diligently" on it. If keeping in contact with your WLM contacts through something other than email is essential, don't do it.
  • Hold off until you have too

    I don't use messenger much but I do use Hotmail and I believe this whole proccess is related as Microsoft moves everyone from Hotmail to too. Many have also lost contacts and email switching to from Hotmail. Me personally I did not like that much so I switched back to Hotmail. I know eventually I will be forced into Outlook probably around the same time frame as Messenger switches to Skype. I have to wonder if Microsoft will handicap Skype a bit more to get users to opt for the paid services instead? For me everything Microsoft does these days seems related to Windows 8 and irrelavent to those users running anything else. Do I want a metro everything UI even in web apps like No.
    • nobody gets forced to move to

      There are plenty of alternatives. Gmail is the first that comes to mind. Hotmail is going away, and so is Messenger. As for losing your contacts and email, just restore them from the backup you made before you started moving to
      • Hotmail going away?

        Says who? Unless you are talking about the site. Not the accounts. Big difference.
    • Re: Hold off...

      While I don't disagree with the idea of holding off on shifting any newly released Microsoft software technology, personally I've found the Outlook web-app much more usable than Hotmail. But that's strictly subjective.

      The preference is also largely irrelevant, as well. I access my (as well as the old account through my preferred email clients. Outlook at work, Live Mail at home and Apple's email client on my iPhone and iPad. All of these are more usable for me than either of the web clients.

      Skype, however? I have a Skype account. I only use it for video calling when I'm travelling. I never use it for instant messaging. Mostly because the UI is cluttered, clunky and not very friendly. Fortunately, my preferred chat client (Imo) supports Skype now. But what happens to my existing Skype account? Do I now have two Skype accounts or will Microsoft merge them? And how will that affect my existing Skype contacts? One we or another it's looking like logistical headaches for me.
      • Answer.

        It merges quite nicely. Also, you can merge your Facebook account to skype, making it connect with those contacts as well.
        Danny Joao-Ferron
  • I am still pissed

    I am still pissed they took away my 25GB in skydrive. And not even email me.
  • No.

    This is a horrible, godawful idea. My Skype contacts are personal, people I have actually spoken to in person - family members and close friends. My Messenger contacts are people I know from the internet and various other impersonal settings. I do not want my random Internet contacts integrated with my family and friends, nor do I want to have to keep two different Skype identities. I'm holding off until last minute - this is going to be massively inconvenient. And to top it off, I've always preferred the messenger interface for text based messaging.
    • learn to use Skype

      You can group your contacts, so you don't have to worry about mixing real contacts and "random internet contacts". Skype may not be better than messenger now, but it definitely will be after March 15. Waiting till the last minute just puts you behind the curve when Messenger gets shut down.
      • Skype may not be better than messenger now, but it definitely will be???

        Why? And how?

        That's a pretty big claim to make without some examples. I do hope you'll be right, but I Microsoft hasn't given an real reason to think so.
        • it's simple, really

          After March 15 Messenger will not exist. Skype will. How could Messenger possibly be better when it is GONE?
      • I know how to use skype, thanks.

        Thanks but I've been using Skype for about three years now. I know how to group contacts. My issue isn't with grouping contacts, it's with the fact that I either now have to have to have two separate skype sign ins (I guess) or give out my personal skype username to people I don't really want to skype with.

        And as the reply below me asks - how do you know skype is going to be better?
        • Two separate Skype accounts

          Or a Messenger account and a Skype account. Either way, two accounts. So no difference there.

          And as I explained above, Skype will be better because Messenger will not exist. You may be better off finding a different messaging program, but even smoke signals will be more useful that Messenger after March 15.
          • Logical

            This makes logical sense, however by the same logic Skype can not be better than something that doesn't exist. In the same way WLM can not be considered less useful as other things that do exist if it does not. In order for the usefulness of things to be compared they must both exist. There for to say that one is better than the other you must compare the current subjects A:(Skype) to the last existing version of B:(WLM). Now can you tell me that the features of Skype will be more useful than the current features of WLM?
  • Yes.

    It is time Microsoft cleans up and tightens its ecosystem offering. There has been way too many distractions and duplications. Spreading efforts on many fronts only yielded inferior offerings.

    Now, let's hope this streamlining work expands to other areas like media players, music ecosystem, maps.

    Some API cleanup would also be welcome.
    • I love Big Brother

      Your comment seems to assume that Microsoft is a logical, efficient organization that works in both its own interests and the interests of its consumers. My own opinion/experience is that the first assumption is completely wrong, and the second is what Microsoft strives for but continually falls short of.

      Proof? The tens of millions of customers who have voted with their pocketbooks for Apple, where 'customer experience' is more than just a slogan. If legacy was not an issue, I'd never deal with MSFT again.
  • Signed Into Skype with Microsoft Credentials - No Messenger Contacts

    I only see the few Skype contacts I have added. Not a huge deal, however, since I don't really want my Messenger contacts on my Skype contact list anyway.
  • Skype WAS great...

    until MS bought it and proceeded to ruin it! Apparently they thouight they were putting a cash cow into their stable.... Wish they would stick with things they do better (though none are "best"!) and not bother with trying to convert every little concept into some form of cash flow....
    • Huh?

      Microsoft hasn't really changed Skype all that much.

      How have they supposedly made it worse?
      Michael Alan Goff