It’s a somber announcement for those who have used Live Messenger for the last 13 years.  Microsoft has made plans to close down the service on the 15th of March.  With Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype in May 2011, many started to wonder what they were going to do with TWO major chat programs.  In November of 2012, Microsoft made their intentions of merging the programs clear.  MSN Messenger was the most popular chat program back in 1999-early 2000’s.  It came in multiple languages and worked on multiple platforms, which was a great success at its time.  However with the growing popularity of Skype, Facebook’s built in chat, Google Talk, and other competitors, MSN just couldn’t compete.

Users of MSN messenger will be migrated over on march 15th, and have the option to move over sooner if they wish by a button added to the desktop app of MSN messenger.  However reports have started coming in of contacts not moving over with accounts, causing angry complaints in the Skype and MSN forums from users.  This has led to some panic that Microsoft will handle the transition poorly, whether or not that is true is purely speculation.  Users are advising others to manually backup contacts before the move to avoid any data loss and to make the move painless.

I think this migration is a good thing, then again I have been a Skype user for the past several years, and haven’t used MSN messenger for a very long time.  Skype not only has great application in the life of an everyday user, but has become increasingly useful in the business world.  These users that don’t agree with the move may not realize that the familiarity they gain with Skype may one day help them in the workplace.  As more companies work towards digital environments, softphone solutions like Skype become essential to keep communication between mobile workers and those who are more stationary.  Unified Communications are a very important piece to completing a well-oiled machine, and programs like Skype are helping that happen.

Microsoft is stepping up their game, and has even integrated Skype into Windows 8.  With Windows 8 prompting for Live signups at first login, this will help them increase users of their chat program (as if Skype didn’t already have enough users).  Being able to also integrate your Facebook chat and Outlook (even from Exchange) without Office installed makes Windows 8 a communication giant.  No conversation will be missed with all those options at your disposal.