Attention fans of Windows Live Messenger (née MSN Messenger), Microsoft is shutting the service down for good March 15, 2013.
The company sent out an email this week informing Windows Live Messenger users that the service will be going the way of Clippy. Instead users (and their contact lists) will be migrated to Skype, which Microsoft acquired in May 2011.
As with most service shutdowns, expect this one to be bumpy, especially given the relatively short notice and the fact that Skype lacks a number of features Messenger offers, including controlling a remote screen, custom emoticons and offline messages. There are already numerous threads on the Skype community forums complaining about the features lost in the move to Skype.
But thus far, complaining hasn’t stopped the transition. To get started making the switch you’ll need to download the Skype client app and then login using your Microsoft account. From there you should have access to all your Windows Live Messenger contacts. If you’re already a Skype user as well you can login with your Skype account and link it to your Messenger account.
According to Microsoft’s FAQ, between now and the cutoff date, Messenger will continue to work as it always has, though you’ll see a banner encouraging you to download Skype (provided you’re using a newer version of Messenger). If you click the banner and follow the install instruction Messenger will be uninstalled after Skype is ready to go.
After March 15, you’ll no longer be able to sign into Messenger.