Today yesterday’s rumor was confirmed that Microsoft will close down Windows Live Messenger in Q1, 2013 and migrate the 100 million active accounts over to Skype. In a Skype Big Blog post, Skype President Tony Bates comments:
Our goal remains to deliver the best communications experience for everyone, everywhere. We want to focus our efforts on making things simpler for our users while continuously improving the overall experience. 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).
He also points out the key advantages to Windows Live Messenger users:
- Broader device support for all platforms, including iPad and Android tablets
- Instant messaging, video calling, and calling landlines and mobiles all in one place
- Sharing screens
- Video calling on mobile phones
- Video calling with Facebook friends
- Group video calling
The process for migrating to Skype is fairly easy using the wizard Skype has set up for this process. WLM users need to download and install the Skype client, create a Skype account if they don’t have one and their WLM contacts will appear as Skype contacts. Link it to your Facebook account and you can also manage chat, voice and video calls with your Facebook contacts. The details of this process are in Tony’s post linked above.
What was not mentioned is that this process also sets up your Skype account for use with Skype for Windows 8; however, you will still want to install Skype for Windows Classic on the Windows 8 Desktop to have access to all Skype’s features when using Windows 8.
One caveat: keep in mind that Messenger, Facebook and Skype chat sessions are independent threads and shown as separate contacts. You will find the Facebook chat session showing up on all devices that support Facebook chat (even on BlackBerry phones and Playbook).
One other advantage, WLM users will now be able to take full advantage of Skype’s crystal clear voice, using SILK, and ability to support full 720p and 1080p HD video at 30 fps with the right webcam and Internet upload speed.
Bottom line: this quantum leap in the Skype user base will certainly help drive Skype revenues for SkypeOut calls, Skype Online numbers and Skype Premium subscriptions. But will it be sufficient to help drive the justification of an $8.5B acquisition price?
Next: awaiting the Skype integration into Outlook.com – it has implications not only for Mail on Windows 8 but also the People application and incorporating fully the Skype profile into the People application.
- Linking Skype and Microsoft Accounts: A primer(voiceontheweb.biz)
- Skype for Windows 8: A “New” Skype Experience(voiceontheweb.biz)
- The next chapter for the Windows Live Messenger network(blogs.windows.com)
- Confirmed: Windows Live Messenger Is Out, Skype Is In(mashable.com)