Messenger was a dominant player in the Internet chat scene in the 90s and early 2000s. In some countries it was the must-have app for connecting with friends, and for introduced many people to a new world of communicating - with emoticons, video chat, share statuses, and even the ability to 'nudge' people. But over time, Messenger usage has dwindled.
Now, Skype is Microsoft's new flagship chat client - and with popularity on every major platform, Microsoft is quickly shifting its Messenger base over to Skype. Microsoft Account integration is already available, and clearly Microsoft is working to further tie Skype in to other products. Some days ago we covered Microsoft's announcement of the Migration date, and now Microsoft is pushing that message out hard and fast.
In an email that went out to customers today, Microsoft had the following to say:
Starting April 8th, we will begin upgrading customers from Messenger to Skype. The process will take a few weeks to complete. April 8th is the first day you may be required to upgrade. This is a bit later than the March 15th date we previously mentioned to some of you as we wanted to give you more time to make the transition.
To keep chatting with your Messenger contacts, simply upgrade to the latest version of Skype using the instructions below and sign in using a Microsoft account (this is the same ID you use to sign into Messenger). Once signed in, your contacts will already be there. You'll be able to instant message and make video calls with them just like before, and start discovering new ways of staying in touch, including Skype on your mobile or tablet.
Strangely, despite the fact that this email came from the Microsoft brand, not the Skype brand, they seem to have forgotten about their own platforms when suggesting how you can access Skype on the go. There's no mention of the existing Windows Phone 7 app or Windows RT/8 apps. One has to wonder how this could be the case, especially given the fact that Microsoft is already struggling to catch up in both phone and tablet market share.
Can I upgrade to Skype on my mobile or tablet?
Yes. Skype is available on iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone 8. While you can still use Messenger on your mobile until a future date, we encourage you to download the latest version of Skype on your mobile or tablet. You will be able to sign into Skype on your iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 8 mobile apps with your Microsoft account over the next few weeks.
Despite the rumours of Skype integration in Windows Phone 8 turning out to be wrong, it's still expected that Microsoft will also integrate Skype into their corporate products (such as Lync) along with consumer products such as the next Xbox and its Windows platforms.
Note: Mainland China will be unaffected, and Messenger services will remain in operation there for the time.