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November 08, 2012

'Ownership' Issues Cited as Reason for China Not Moving its Microsoft Messenger Users to Skype

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Everywhere, Microsoft (News - Alert) Messenger will stop being offered in Q1 of 2013, except China. Its users will be reassigned to Skype.

A new report explains that the Messenger-Skype (News - Alert) merger is not taking place in China because of “ownership issues” in that country, ZDNet said.

“Microsoft's Skype and Messenger services are both offered as part of joint ventures in China, and any merger will require the restructuring of both Chinese companies,” ZDNet explained.

Image via Shutterstock

Microsoft announced this week it will replace Windows Live Messenger, an instant messaging tool, with the messaging tool offered by Skype, TMCnet added. Windows Live Messenger will no longer be offered as of March 2013. The exception is in China.

“If you want integration with Skype in China, there are many obstacles,” according to the report (translated) from Tech Sina.

China’s Tech Sina reported Messenger and Skype are offered through joint ventures with local Chinese companies.

Messenger is provided in China via Shanghai MSN Network Communications Technology Company (MSN China.) That is a joint venture between Microsoft and Shanghai Alliance Investment.

Skype entered a partnership with TOM Online (News - Alert) in 2004.Skype and TOM also established a joint venture. It also appears that no employees in China will be let go as a result of the Skype-Messenger merger because it does not impact China.

In a possible explanation of the merger of the two services, Asian News International cited a recent comScore (News - Alert) study which showed that Windows Live Messenger was still popular. But the number of unique users in the United Sates dropped to 8.3 million. That represents a 48 percent drop when comparing the most recent year with the previous year.. But the number of people who chose to use Skype over the same time period went up.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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