There has been talk of this for a while, but now it’s official. come March 15th, 2013, Windows Live Messenger will be no more. Microsoft is shutting the place down in favour of Skype, which it owns.
When I was first getting into the internet, MSN Messenger as it was called then was pretty much the coolest thing I’d ever seen. A chat program where you’re completely in charge of who gets in and who doesn’t so you can filter out all the creeps and losers? And it works with JAWS? Where do I sign up?
For the longest time, whenever I was at the computer, I was signed in. I didn’t even bother signing out when I wasn’t. Hey, that’s what they had status changes for, right? It was too handy and useful to turn off. I did everything with it. I loved email and still do, but MSN was often faster if I needed somebody in a hurry. Even the plan to start the Comet was hatched over Messenger…to the extent you could really call it a plan. It was more like Matt and I wishing we had a website to write on, then realizing that we didn’t know how to make one and that we were probably too shitty for an established place with quality standards to take on.
But over the years, things changed. Microsoft redesigned the program interface here and there, making it at times into a gigantic pain in the ass to use with a screenreader. I found a program called Miranda that would let me log in during the inaccessible times, but it was never the same. I kept going because I needed Messenger for things, but as time went on, I found myself using it less and less. By the time I got Twitter in 2010 I was rarely there, and since then I think I may have signed in 5 or 6 times. All the people I talk to a lot and then some are here, so why go there?
But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little sad to see Messenger go. One of those end of an era things, I guess. Messenger helped connect me with some folks I might not know otherwise, and kept me in touch with some others that without it I’d have likely lost track of. Thanks for that, Microsoft. How often do you see a sentence like that last one written without even the slightest hint of sarcasm?
Some of you may not like it, but the switch does make sense. You own something that can do everything Messenger does in higher quality, so why keep two products around to essentially serve the same purpose?
I have Skype but hardly use it, so as far as I’m concerned, I’m ready for the changeover. Good luck to everybody who isn’t though, since I know some of you still exist.
“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. You’ll be able to instant message and video chat with them just like before, and also discover new ways of staying in touch with Skype on your mobile and tablet.”
As we previously mentioned, these “new ways” include calling landlines and mobiles all in one place; sharing screens; video calling on mobile phone; video calling with Facebook friends; and group video calling.
As for what happens between now and March 15? Also in the email to users, Microsoft says “Messenger will continue to work as you know it today. If you are signed in with Messenger on your desktop you will see a banner notification to upgrade. When you click on the banner, an installer window will open with the request to upgrade. This will take you through our installer flow to install Skype and automatically uninstall Messenger.”