Microsoft to replace Windows Live Messenger with Skype

Microsoft purchased Skype last year, and they’ve finally decided how to put it to good use – as a replacement for their current messaging platform, Windows Live Messenger.
Windows Live Messenger will be phased out over the next few months and users will be moved to Skype. Microsoft is hopeful that the transition will be smooth, and in easing what could prove to be difficult, they plan to allow current Live Messengers log in to Skype with their Microsoft ID. This will also allow for contacts from Live Messenger to be transferred automatically to Skype. Users who already have Skype accounts will find their contacts in both platforms merged into one, which Microsoft feels will allow for easier communication and collaboration.

In addition to the ease of communication, Microsoft feels that the added features Skype will bring is another big reason for the switch.
Among these new features: support for more devices; video, landline, and mobile calling functions will be consolidated into one single application; sharing of screens; video calling from mobile devices and via Facebook; and group video calling will be added.

With consumers favoring social media and texting over Instant Messaging, Microsoft feels they have a more universal and compatible product in Skype. The business world, however, still relies strongly on Instant Messaging as a technology. It plays a large role in unified communications, which means the Skype rollout will also give the business world more features in one product. Presence functionality – the ability to know a coworkers location and availability, is built in to the software – which is a major reason why Instant Messaging technology is so important for businesses.

Social messaging is a big competitor in the consumer market, but even enterprise social software makers are trying to integrate instant messaging to their platforms because of the heavy reliance by businesses. Microsoft currently has an enterprise product, called Lync, which includes Instant Messaging. Right now, Microsoft doesn’t have plans to oust Lync in favor of Skype, but they will likely plan to increase integration between both in the future.

In the end, Microsoft is just treating the change as another new client that users will need to upgrade to in order to keep up with changing technology. The transition will be smooth, so it’s unlikely to cause many customer issues.

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