Microsoft signals end of MSN services in China by October

Ten years after its entrance to Chinese market, Microsoft has decided to terminate MSN messenger services in the country – the last one in the world – by the end of October.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor on

On August 28, a number of Chinese users received emails from Microsoft, notifying that the MSN services in China was about to close down, said a Dongfang Daily report.

The email advised that MSN Messenger service will end on October 31 in China, but all the contacts will not be lost as Skype will continue to support previous accounts and contacts.

The email added that all MSN users will receive a complimentary Skype coupon worth US$2 that can be used for international calls.

Microsoft terminated its 14-year-old MSN messenger in all other countries except the Chinese mainland in April 2013. The instant chat service, which came into China in 2005, was once a hit but gradually lost steam after its functions were deemed stale in comparison with the local popular instant chat software, QQ messenger, which was developed by Chinese tech giant Tencent.

On April 11, Tencent announced its 15-year-old QQ hit a major milestone with 200 million people using the service. It was more than the entire population of Brazil all concurrently using a single application, Tencent said.

However, Skype remains a less favorable voice-and-video-call service provider on the mainland with its number of users in China a mystery to the outside world.

In November 2013, Skype ended an eight-year joint-venture with Hong Kong-based TOM Group, and relaunched the services on the Chinese mainland under the Microsoft banner.

According to a Sina report in November 2013, Skype's Asia-Pacific director Judd Harcombe rebutted a figure announced by TOM, which claimed to have accumulated 100 million Skype users in China during its nine-year operation in the country.

Harcombe said TOM has "wrongfully exaggerated" the figure in China, adding that Skype has 300 million users worldwide but will not disclose the exact data of individual market.

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