Windows Live Messenger to close

After launching all the way back in 1999, Microsoft has announced today that Windows Live Messenger is to close down and be replaced by Skype. Recently, Microsoft has replicated most of Skype’s functionality in Windows Live Messenger. This news comes 19 months after the software giant stated that it is purchasing Skype for a fee of $8.5BN or £5.3BN.

It added that WLM (Windows Live Messenger) would be turned off worldwide with the exception of China. This decision reflects the firms’ decision to focus its communications efforts on Skype as opposed to WLM.Windows Messenger

Windows Live Messenger launched back in 1999, when it was known as MSN Messenger. Over the years, photo sharing, video calls and even games were added to the software package to take it away from its simple text-based roots. In 2009, Microsoft announced that it had 330 million active users on WLM.

According to the Internet analysis firm, Comscore, WLM still had more than double the number of Skype’s users at the start of the year and it is second in popularity, only losing out on the top spot to Yahoo Messenger. The report however also suggested that the US audience of WLM has dropped to 8.3 million unique users, which represents a 48% drop year-on-year. In contrast to this, the number of people using Skype rose.

“When a company has competing products that can result in cannibalisation it’s often better to focus on a single one,” said Brian Blau from the consultancy Gartner.

“Skype’s top-up services offer the chance to monetize its users and Microsoft is also looking towards opportunities in the living room.  He added that “Messenger doesn’t seem like an appropriate communications platform for TVs or the firm’s Xbox console – but Skype does.”

Skype is offering a tool to help you migrate your WLM contacts to Skype’s service.

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