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November 07, 2012

Is Windows Live Messenger Going Under...Permanently?

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Windows Live Messenger has had a long and storied tenure as Microsoft's (News - Alert) instant messaging system; in fact, it's been Microsoft's weapon of choice in the instant messaging field for the last 13 years.

But the recent acquisition of Skype (News - Alert) has left several watchers wondering if Windows Live Messenger is about to go the way of the dodo, supplanted by its new communications powerhouse.

The reports, obtained from multiple sources by way of The Verge, say Windows Live Messenger is about to go dark very soon, replaced with Skype. Those who use Windows Live Messenger regularly, meanwhile, won't be completely out in the cold as Microsoft looks to integrate Windows Live Messenger with Skype so that everybody can keep all their contacts in place.

This move is set to happen when Skype launches for Windows 8, so it's not too far off in terms of time scheduling.

In fact, the reports suggest Microsoft will announce the formal death notice for Windows Live Messenger by the end of the year, with an outside nod to the end of the week if all goes as planned.

Microsoft, for its part, said it doesn’t comment on rumors and speculation, so the report should be taken with a grain of salt.

Ostensibly, this makes some sense. Microsoft already has one communications powerhouse in Skype, so why both supporting a second one when the two can be effectively combined? Things like SMS messaging and the like have made the instant messenger system a lot less useful than it was in the past – some websites even allow users to log into multiple IM systems at once for extra ease of use. So bringing Windows Live Messenger under the Skype banner makes plenty of sense and allows for users to better see what they could be doing with Skype.

That might improve some credit sales as well as have users discover more about what this service can do if they didn't already know.

Plus, Microsoft's foray into more portable technology, thanks to recent moves into the smartphone and tablet arenas, provide new opportunities for better communications systems, and Skype can bring a lot of those together in one field to save space on the portable hardware, making it more efficient in the process.

While it's always sad to see an old friend put out to pasture, the possibilities involved with bringing Skype and Windows Live Messenger together is too good to pass up.

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