Rumor: Microsoft retiring Windows Live Messenger, Skype taking the helm

According to the folks over at The Verge, Microsoft is planning on retiring their popular Windows Live Messenger service in favor of Skype, with an announcement possibly coming as soon as this week. Messenger will be integrated into Skype in some way, although it wasn't stated whether Microsoft will force people currently using WLM to switch to using Skype.

The Skype team has been working hard to integrate Microsoft accounts over the past few months, with the option now available in the latest version of Skype to sign in using your Microsoft account as well as Facebook account. Naturally this is all part of the big plan for Skype, which Microsoft acquired back in May 2011 for $8.5 billion.

If the rumor is correct, Windows Live Messenger will be no more in a couple of months' time, marking the end to one of the most loved instant messaging clients of the past ten years.

Source: The Verge | Image via Skype

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61 Comments

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Makes sense, I noticed WLM is integrated into the Win8 version of Skype anyway and they are doing away with the "Windows Live" branding. So it's logical to do away with the client and just manage it all from Skype.

MSN/Live Messenger used to be one of my favorite programs for years and years, but one by one my friends went to Facebook and stopped using Messenger.
Eventually I just used Facebook too. Haven't had Live Messenger installed for quite some time, but did install just recently just to have Facebook contacts easier to access, but thought it sucked for that, so right away gave Skype a try, and it is way better. I love it.
So yeah, I can see Live Messenger being of no use now and should be retired.

jamesyfx said,
Skype would be an excellent replacement for Windows Live Messenger.

Agreed. The whiners above can't accept change and how Skype is exponatially better than WLM. It does everything you could ever want and will be a good iMessage competitor.

Skype is available on every platform, VoIP services, and is built into a lot of oddity devices.

Access to these customers is why Microsoft bought Skype. It would be silly to continue two products, instead of using the install base and expanding that product's features.

The only problem is in how Skype does the peer to peer hand off, which cannot be fixed, so clients have to maintain compatibility while Microsoft moves newer clients to use the more robust Messenger infrastructure and server services.

Skype for Windows 8 already takes over basic Messenger features and functionality, and the Skype is also just now 'bonding' to Microsoft Account authentication.

This is horrible actually. It means that my wife can no longer use Messenger during the day then as I use my Skype phone number for my work. Since the new Skype application in Windows 8 does not allow you to sign out of Skype, there is not a way of preventing Skype from rining as well every time a call comes in. For the time

esp2000 said,
This is horrible actually. It means that my wife can no longer use Messenger during the day then as I use my Skype phone number for my work. Since the new Skype application in Windows 8 does not allow you to sign out of Skype, there is not a way of preventing Skype from rining as well every time a call comes in. For the time

The Windows App version of Skype has 'issues' in its first release. Our team has been working with and ripping them for the 'stupid' things they did in the initial release.

Count on it getting better.

A solution for your Skype issue, when you don't want to get calls go into permissions and flip them off. (Notifications, Run in background, etc.) Then make sure to Drag it to the bottom of the screen to make sure Windows closes it.

Since Facebook and Skype got so big in case of instant messaging, prior popular services like MSN and ICQ, which I used to use a lot, have become obsolete for me.

No you can't replace MSN it's been in the family for generations!!! I hate facebook and I swore never to touch yahoo again since the time they abandoned Vista Messenger (which was freakin awesome). Grrr... They can't do thi!!! I'll MAKE them keep it separate!!! They won't merge! I swear by Thor's Banjo that I'll have it my way >

I am using it [Skype] logged in via my online account. Works well enough. The problem is that the ModernUI version and the latest desktop version are missing some important features. I am somewhat confident that MS will add them over time, but I will miss them NOW as I work. For example, you can no longer ring on all devices in both mUI and desktop (heh! MUI == modern ui, not the amiga interface).

Also, no desktop sharing or group chat currently in ModernUI version of Skype.

I have a few questions I installed the beta of Skype on my win8 pc and anyone that was a friend on messanger or facebook now I have a Skype friend, it merged them, but I installed the Skype app on my mother inlaws win 8 machine and she only sees messanger users and its not merging friends with Skype ?
also
I use messenger video on xbox all the time .. when are we going to see Skype on xbox !!!

I knew something was up, the dueling messengers in Win 8, Skype, Live messenger are starting to really get on my nerves. I really need an IM to go back with a set list of people through out the day.

jimmyfal said,
I knew something was up, the dueling messengers in Win 8, Skype, Live messenger are starting to really get on my nerves. I really need an IM to go back with a set list of people through out the day.

Transitions suck. I am not happy about the Xbox Music Pass transition things either, but I understand why, even if it is a pain. (Zune downloaded content and Xbox music downloaded content are not compatible with each other until the transition completes.)

I switched from Windows Live Messenger to Skype, although for the most part I realised I was using both to talk via Facebook Chat. This development doesn't really surprise me - they both do much the same thing.

Just realized today that after installing the Skype app that it impaired the built-in messenger functionality in windows 8. After I discovered there's no way of merging my fb into Skype with the app, I went ahead and uninstalled Skype and messenger(people/calendar/mail) and reinstalled the messenger/people/calendar/mail so I could have my functionality back. If they are going to make the switch, they better clean up the options first. Got a support email in about the importing contacts thing and affecting messenger thing.

NXTwoThou said,
Just realized today that after installing the Skype app that it impaired the built-in messenger functionality in windows 8. After I discovered there's no way of merging my fb into Skype with the app, I went ahead and uninstalled Skype and messenger(people/calendar/mail) and reinstalled the messenger/people/calendar/mail so I could have my functionality back. If they are going to make the switch, they better clean up the options first. Got a support email in about the importing contacts thing and affecting messenger thing.

I believe you have to link your FB to your Microsoft account for that to work. Just like in WLM. When I logged into Skype with my Microsoft account, all my WLM + FB + LinkedIn contacts were listed there in Skype.

My fb account is linked to my ms account, it would show up in regular messenger but not in Skype. The instructions on the Skype support site is all for the regular client, not the windows 8 app. The windows 8 app doesn't have the ability to link accounts. Had to go to the webpage, sign in using facebook, then do the linking from there. The app doesn't have these features and doesn't pull it from your ms account.

i rather have them separately, i couldnt move to wlm 2009 and up its full of ads and the elimination of nicknames its just bad....

skype on other hand have been adless so i hope they stay the same way...

Stupid question: Skype on my Surface shows my WLM contacts, but skype on my Win7 desktop does not, and for the life me cant figure out how to connect the two. Any quick pointers?

MikeInBA said,
Stupid question: Skype on my Surface shows my WLM contacts, but skype on my Win7 desktop does not, and for the life me cant figure out how to connect the two. Any quick pointers?

On your Win7 desktop version, sign into SKYPE using your MS account, and all of your messenger contacts will be there

Well, I for one, already made the switch sometime ago. Also got my Facebook contacts there along with all the Skype and MSN contacts.

Ah damn it to hell why can't they just release a non sucky version of msn messenger and leave it alone (version 8 maybe or one before all the ads + photosharing crap)

DDStriker said,
Ah damn it to hell why can't they just release a non sucky version of msn messenger and leave it alone (version 8 maybe or one before all the ads + photosharing crap)

What you're describing is Skype lol.... no ads, no "photosharing crap", and all your WLM contacts are automatically there now since it uses the same backend as WLM.

j2006 said,

What you're describing is Skype lol.... no ads, no "photosharing crap", and all your WLM contacts are automatically there now since it uses the same backend as WLM.

Not really i'm happy with how the old msn looked i don't need to switch to a different client just because microsoft likes running their products into the ground for some sick sexual thrill i won't have to worry about that till much later though as i can run just about any version i like.

Why did you quote "photosharing crap" do you not agree or do you not understand what i'm referring to? it has to be one of the worst things they have added to msn although not as bad as when they decided all links were evil and people had to copy/paste for a while there i think i'm rambling carry on good sir

Makes sense. Kids are all using Skype these days. Anyway MSN has never been really good to begin with.

MrWhistler said,
I use messenger 2009 in Windows 8, I find that better than 2011 or whatever the current version is.......

Yeah that version is better it's funny with msn it was getting better and better then around version 6.2 just started declining into the horrible mess we have now

great thing for resource hacker though

I think it was obvious that they will do this... The new Messages app in win8 doesn't even support webcam and mic talking...

nyolc8 said,
I think it was obvious that they will do this... The new Messages app in win8 doesn't even support webcam and mic talking...

It doesn't support sending messages half the time either... and when it does, you certainly can't share a picture or website with it via the charms menu.. something I thought would have been a very basic thing to have introduced. Even my windows phone can send pictures over the messenges service via windows live messenger. It's crazy to think this is a newly released OS that has LESS functionality then ANY other product of the same nature.

Again, its just another example of how bad the default apps are.

As a member of what used to be the Butterfly group, this breaks my heart a little bit. But, I was sort of expecting this to happen when Skype was acquired. I hope the transition will be seamless though and that almost all of the features make it over.

Thief000 said,
As a member of what used to be the Butterfly group, this breaks my heart a little bit. But, I was sort of expecting this to happen when Skype was acquired. I hope the transition will be seamless though and that almost all of the features make it over.

Indeed! I miss the good old times: Butterflies, Wendy, "real" beta programs.... and being fifteen years younger...

Thief000 said,
As a member of what used to be the Butterfly group, this breaks my heart a little bit. But, I was sort of expecting this to happen when Skype was acquired. I hope the transition will be seamless though and that almost all of the features make it over.

Yeah I love the WLM brand, but surprisingly the transition works really well. Login to Skype with your WLM account and everything just works. I do miss things like photo/video sharing that WLM had though.

That would make complete sense. What's the point of supporting to IM platforms?

And would be in line with the "lack of updates" to WLM's client and make Skype even bigger...

makes sense, WLM is pointless on windows now with skype been much more integrated to MS/FB account system.
Also most of my contacts now dont even use that IM, they use whatsapp/FBM

Now we know why the messenger app in Windows 8 is so...yeah. It was just a placeholder until Skype completed its modern-ification.

Sadelwo said,
Now we know why the messenger app in Windows 8 is so...yeah. It was just a placeholder until Skype completed its modern-ification.

Oh boy, if that's true I can't wait to see what they have planned for the rest of the Windows 8 apps, such as Mail, Photos etc.

Sadelwo said,
Now we know why the messenger app in Windows 8 is so...yeah. It was just a placeholder until Skype completed its modern-ification.

Skype replaces the current functionality, except oddly enough for facebook messaging.

MsftGaurav said,
Time to find non-Microsoft IM client which has AV chat and which will last forever.

ya if only MS was working on a way to have AV Chat and messenger in 1 client.

Colin McGregor said,

ya if only MS was working on a way to have AV Chat and messenger in 1 client.

Huh? What part of "non-Microsoft" do you not understand?

MsftGaurav said,
Time to find non-Microsoft IM client which has AV chat and which will last forever.

Huh? you can still log in to Skype with your WLM account and all your contacts are available there since Skype now uses the WLM backend. What do you mean that will last forever if all your WLM friends are still there?

MsftGaurav said,

Huh? What part of "non-Microsoft" do you not understand?

I imagine he didn't think 'non-MS' was a required but more like something you were forced to accept. Considering you apparantly now use WLM and are being forced out of it by this decision.

Although it appears to me that you arent using WLM and are just using this opportunity to persuade WLM users to switch to AV chat by acting as if you're in a similar position.

Having said that, it seems to me that WLM users can expect Skype to be everything they have now plus a lot more. Their contacts will also move over, and honestly WLM is so outdated that having your contacts present seems like the only reason to keep using it. You can also chat with Facebook contacts so if possible they'll add AV as well. Lately MS has been in the business of integrating multiple (first and third party) services into one.

Glassed Silver said,
Please no...
I don't fancy being tied to a proprietary chat client for WLM...

GS:mac


I don't think they'll change the protocol, they'll probably just replace the client. The verge article says that Microsoft have been moving Skype IMs over to the messenger backend (about 80% of them), so I doubt they'd get rid of it.

Glassed Silver said,
Please no...
I don't fancy being tied to a proprietary chat client for WLM...

GS:mac


No worries... Skype has been moved to the more advanced WLM backend. So it'll work seamless. You can try logging into Skype today with your WLM account and it works perfectly.

j2006 said,
You can try logging into Skype today with your WLM account and it works perfectly.

Wont let me log in with my MS Account on my desktop client, but will with the Skype App.

daniel_rh said,

You can use Skype to chat with your MSN and/or Facebook contacts


but you can't make a video/audio call to them which is disappointing. also, Skype still have worse video call quality on slow/overloaded networks than WLM. and WLM does much smoother quality transitions.

b10h4z4rd said,
Would be interesting, but I don't really use either very often.

As soon as Microsoft bought Skype the intention was clear. WLM really lost all of it's users to Facebook and Twitter. Meanwhile Skype is growing to the size of WLM back in 2009 when it had peaked. The New Skype apps on Windows 8 and WP8 also clearly show where the development is going in. There is indirect information which suggests that Skype has a lot more active users than WLM.

Gaffney said,

...WLM really lost all of it's users to Facebook and Twitter...

Umm, where have you gotten that statistic? WLM still has millions of active users. Microsoft has seemed to transition this really nicely though. I logged into Skype with my Microsoft account, and all my WLM contacts transferred over just as expected with zero hassle. Pretty impressed, but Skype still needs all the features WLM had.

j2006 said,

Umm, where have you gotten that statistic? WLM still has millions of active users. Microsoft has seemed to transition this really nicely though. I logged into Skype with my Microsoft account, and all my WLM contacts transferred over just as expected with zero hassle. Pretty impressed, but Skype still needs all the features WLM had.

All of Windows Live has 24 million active facebook synced accounts per month. They pushed syncing with you're Facebook quite hard on WLM. That figure also includes windows phones and Hotmail. Also from my person experience WLM is dead in the UK. I would say WLM would be lucky to have 1/4 of the active users it did at it's peak.

j2006 said,

Umm, where have you gotten that statistic?

All of my friends ditched WLM for FB chat. A lot of people have suffered that as well IMO.

It's still big, but it all depends on whether your social circle uses it or not I guess.