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January 14, 2013

Microsoft says bye to Windows Messenger

Microsoft has announced the date it will close its messaging service.

By Tineka Smith

Microsoft announced in November last year that it would be retiring its Messenger service in the first quarter of 2013.

Microsoft sent an email out earlier this week announcing the date the service will shut down and encouraged users to move over to Skype.

"On 15th March 2013 we are retiring the existing Messenger service globally (except for mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available) and bringing the great features of Messenger and Skype together," the company wrote in its email.

"Update to Skype and sign in using a Microsoft Account (same as your Messenger ID) and all your Messenger contacts will be at your fingertips."

Mobile users are encouraged to download the latest Skype app on their mobile and then uninstall Messenger.

Over the next few weeks users will be able to sign into Skype on their phone through their Microsoft accounts.

Microsoft first acquired Skype in October 2011 for $8.5bn. The deal was originally announced in May, but the company faced an investigation due to anti-trust concerns.

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Those who opposed the acquisition claimed the company was "bundling" software, but Microsoft assured that Skype would remain available across several platforms.

A recent study by Siemens revealed that 43% of employees feel overwhelmed by collaboration and communication technologies in the office.

Randy Roberts, vice president of mobility products at Siemens enterprise communications, says that Microsoft’s step towards a consolidated communication service is an important development in keeping up with a population that’s constantly connected while on-the-go.

"People want, and expect, to be able to communicate quickly and instant messaging was one of the first technologies born to satisfy this need," said Roberts. "However, as time has moved on, it is not surprising that Microsoft has retired the text-based service. We live in a world where being contacted via social media, email, IM, SMS and phone calls all in the same day is common place.

"Where we access this information is changing too – from PC’s and laptops we have adjusted to being contacted on our tablets and smartphones – over 50% of Facebook users, for example, access the service on their mobile device. Consolidating these different channels is going to be imperative over the next five years in order to make managing your communications possible, especially for the enterprise as workforces become increasingly mobile."


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