Microsoft has pushed forward with its cross-platform video chat and messaging app Skype, but traces of the old Windows Live Messenger (or MSN Messenger) still remained in China. As of today, however, even Chinese users will have to get with the new program.
Microsoft announced today that Windows Live Messenger will come to an end on October 31, 2014 and that all Chinese users must move to Skype in order to continue chatting with friends and relatives using Microsoft services. As an incentive, Redmond has promised Windows Live Messenger users that they will receive a $2 Skype calls coupon upon transferring over to Skype.
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Redmond acquired Skype in 2011 for $8.8 billion and decided in March 2013 to shut down Windows Live Messenger for all parts of the world – except China. The reason for China’s continued life in Windows Live Messenger up to now has to do with the fact that Windows Live Messenger in China was operated locally while the service worldwide was operated by Microsoft itself.
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MSN Messenger was started back in 1999, and operated for 12 years before Microsoft acquired the service. In 2005, Windows Live Messenger started facing stiff competition from Tencent’s QQ messenger, with WhatsApp to follow after. As of 2012, Skype had over 300 million users, while Windows Live Messenger only had about 100 million.