Skip to main content

Bye bye Windows Live Messenger

This is the new face of Messenger: yep, it's Skype
Audio player loading…

If internet years are like dog years, then Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger) is 91 - so Microsoft's decision to shutter the service in early 2013 and migrate everyone to Skype isn't exactly a surprise.

The reason for the move is obvious enough: when you spend billions of pounds on a messaging platform, as Microsoft did with Skype last year, you want to get your money's worth. And as Brian Hall writes in the final Inside Windows Live blog post, Microsoft believes that "Skype provides a better experience and even stronger network."

Mac users might disagree with that one - Skype conferencing on OS X, in my experience, is hilariously unreliable - but Skype does have more features and wider device support. I'm sure the migration will be messy for some, because migrations usually are, but when the dust settles Skype will do more for more people than Messenger could.

Shooting the Messenger

Windows Live Messenger is getting the boot just months after the similarly old Hotmail, which is now, and while progress is obviously a good thing I can't help feeling a nostalgic pang. For many of us MSN Messenger and Hotmail were part of the plumbing of the internet, the programs we used when we were supposed to be doing something else such as sleeping, working or studying.

I have particularly fond memories of Messenger: twelve years ago it was where I'd spend all night chatting to the woman who would later become my wife.

That was a long time ago, though, and like many people I haven't used Messenger for non-work purposes for some years now. It's from an era where connections were dial-up, tablets didn't exist and phones weren't so smart, and most of us have moved on to other services.

As Brian Hall writes: "Messenger enabled each of us to communicate and share with the people we care about". However, a messaging platform is only as good as the people using it, and these days most of us want to talk somewhere else.


Former lion tamer, Girls Aloud backing dancer and habitual liar Carrie Marshall (Twitter, Google+) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to .net, MacFormat, Tap! and Official Windows Magazine as well as co-writing stacks of how-to tech books. "My job is to cut through the crap," she says. "And there's a lot of crap."