Microsoft's aggressive grand plan for merging Skype and Messenger takes shape

Microsoft's aggressive grand plan for merging Skype and Messenger takes shape

Summary: The Skype team is planning to replace the Messenger instant-messaging client with Skype messaging a lot sooner than many expected.


After months of leaked bits, Microsoft's Skype division is finally opening the informational tap.


We've already seen and now used the new Windows 8 Skype client. We've heard there's a Windows Phone 8 Skype client coming -- though it's still not in the Windows Phone Store and Skype reps are not sharing more on when it will be.

On November 6, the Skype team provided more information about its recently stated plans to ultimately replace Windows Live Messenger with Skype. The planned cutover date is quite aggressive: It's Q1 2013, according to a new Skype blog post. 

"We will retire Messenger in all countries worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 (with the exception of mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available)," according to the post. By that time, consumers who want to use instant messaging will have no choice but to use Skype for that. (Business instant messaging will still be largely the province of Microsoft's Lync, though Lync-Skype federation is coming at some point.)

In late October, Skype officials said that Skype would most likely will replace Messenger some day, but declined to provide a public timetable. However, in October, Skype began testing new Windows and Mac beta releases that allowed users to sign in using their Windows Live ID (Microsoft Account) so they could send and receive instant messages and see presence information from those using Messenger.

On the back-end, in the months after Microsoft's acquisition of Skype was finalized, the pair have been moving Skype to use the Windows Messenger infrastructure. Storage of pictures, video and other Skype content is now happening on Windows Azure.

Once users migrate from Messenger to Skype, they will be able to use not just Skype's instant messaging, but also its video calling, Skype's landline calling capability, screen sharing, video calling on mobile phones and with Facebook friends and Group Calling, according to today's post.

The Skype team's ultimate goal is to convince consumers to leave Skype running on their machines all day and use chat as the first place they go when they sign in.

I have to say, even though Windows Live Messenger has been buggy and pretty awful on Windows 7, I am fearful about this rapid transition to Skype. I haven't found Skype messaging to be as good as Windows Live Messenger. Hoping to see improvements sooner rather than later since we aren't going to have much of a choice...

Update: Microsoft officials also have blogged about the pending death of Messenger on the "Inside Windows Live" blog. "We will enable Skype to work better with than Messenger ever has too," according to that November 6 post.

Topics: Collaboration, Microsoft, Unified Comms


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • What About the Messaging Ap

    In Windows 8 and WP we have the Messaging app, I wonder if it will also be replaced by Skype...
    • Nope, it won't.

      Windows Messaging app will log you into Skype, Facebook (and other services) for you. So you can message through there. Skype can stay in the background until someone calls you.
  • WP8 and Skype

    How do the carriers feel about this?
    • Especially considering this

      Why would the carriers promote the Windows 8 phones using Wi-Fi?
    • data

      If you have noticed carriers are moving away from unlimited data to metered data. This is because data traffic is more than talk, hence carriers such as EE in the uk offer unlimited talk and text but metered data, this is how they will be making money. So using services like Skype will be welcomed.
      • I don't quite get it

        With metered data, I would gravitate to Wi-Fi (see my link in my second post) whenever possible to avoid metered charges by the carrier. How is that good for them?
        • Because they still get their $$

          Regardless of whether or not you're using data all the time.

          Why should they care?

          450 minutes
          unlimited SMS

          almost 100$ on AT&T.

          They make their money well.
          Michael Alan Goff
  • Agreed...

    I'm not a big fan of Skype in general, but I was glad when Microsoft snatched it up to prevent Google from grabbing it.

    I'm just hoping that they can stabilize the two services as they move forward, and what a much more ubiquitous way to do it than what Apple has with FaceTime.
  • What is the impact to the 'enterprise' community?

    Lync is used extensively internal to the company technology side - does that mean a completly new infrastructure or just a new 'compatible' client?
  • Oovoo has served me well

    It's taken them a long time to do something about it. I've been using Oovoo for 6 years now and have never had problems, certainly none of the ones I constantly had with Skype. The interface is better, easier to use. I think Microsoft has a lot of work to catch up with Oovoo but it does have one strategic componenet, market share.
  • A win for Facebook

    I think for many users, they've stopped using Messenger already, and are using Facebook messaging instead. I know that on my Messenger list, most of the time, I have no contacts online. I think Microsoft will just accelerate this process, with no particular gain for Skype.
  • Does it have all the goodies that Live Messenger has?

    a. Remote Assistance
    b. Pasting a png graphic from clibboard and shared viewing
    c. Handwriting sketches
    d. F2 voice
    e. Animated emoticons
    f. Timestamped messages

    I would like to request for one more feature: have a running serialized number against each message. In collaborative work we often need to refer to an exact message we are responding to as messages criss-cross one another.

    And will there be an official, working client for Android?