Microsoft will today close down its popular Windows Live Messenger, also known as MSN Messenger, and is urging users to start using Skype with their Microsoft login details. The software giant has also begun a year-long countdown to ending support for its XP operating system and Office 2003.
The new Skype service allows users to import contacts from MSN Messenger and allows mobile calls from desktops, as well as video calling and connections to friends on Facebook.
At its peak, MSN Messenger had 300m users but with the rise of Skype and Facebook (which incidentally provides Skype calling functionality) users of MSN Messenger have fallen to around 100m.
By comparison, Skype has more than 663m registered users. Microsoft bought Skype in 2011 for US$8.5m.
End of the road for Windows XP and Office 2013
Microsoft also announced this morning plans to end support for its popular Windows XP operating system, as well as Office 2003 exactly a year from now, on 8 April 2014.
This means that XP customers and partners will no longer receive security updates or be able to leverage tech support from Microsoft. Businesses that still have PCs running Windows XP and Office 2003 need to start migrating now to ensure security, mobility, productivity and to meet the demands of the modern worker.
“Windows XP and Office 2003 were great software releases more than a decade ago, but technology has evolved along with the needs; and more importantly, the expectations of your customers and partners that have already adopted modern platforms and devices,” commented Patrick Ward, business manager, Client Microsoft Ireland.
“Companies still on XP are also missing out on tangible benefits of modernising their IT investments from dramatically enhanced security, broad device choice to meet the needs of a mobile workforce, higher user productivity, and lower total cost of ownership by future-proofing their IT investments,” added Ward.
Microsoft advises users still running XP and Office 2003 not to simply “do nothing” as this means opening their computers up to potential security risks, and rather than purchasing a custom support contract, which can be very expensive per PC, urges users to just update to a more recent software, like Windows 8 and Office 13.
“Modern users demand technologies that fit their personal work style and allow them to stay productive anytime, anywhere, while businesses have an ever-increasing need to protect data and ensure security, compliance and manageability.
“Windows 8 and Office 2013 are designed with these needs in mind. Needs that an 11-year-old operating system can no longer address,” said Ward.