Questions over the future of a world where Messenger and Skype live side by side and are owned by the same company were finally resolved today. Microsoft has announced that it’s knocking Messenger on the head with Skype.
In fairness this is not exactly unexpected. First because it paid US$ 8.5 billion last year for Skype and has to find something to do with it, and secondly, Microsoft has already hinted that it was going to get rid of Messenger at some point in the future.
What is surprising about the announcement, which appears on the Skype blog, is the speed at which it will happen.
Last month, Skype had indicated that it would be replacing Messenger, but didn’t at that point say when this would happen. In this announcement, it’s quite clear -- Messenger will disappear in Q1 of next year and will be replaced with Skype -- except in China where it is going to be kept on for a time anyway.
Skype and Messenger together
Microsoft also started testing Windows and Mac releases in beta that enabled users to sign in using their Messenger Live ID, send and receive messages, and then allowed them see who was on line in Messenger, all from Skype.
Skype With Messenger
But seems that’s all just the beta and in the blog post we get a much better idea of what Microsoft is going to do.
To the many questions that the integration poses, Microsoft has answers, although whether everyone thinks it is the “good news” that Microsoft claims it to be is another matter.
Upgrading to Skype
By the end of the first quarter next year, Skype users will be able to contact their Messenger contacts through Skype, and not just through instant messaging, but through voice and video too.
Basically, once the integration takes place, Messenger users will have to upgrade to Skype -- that’s what the move to Skype is being described as -- where they will find all their contacts already available.
And an upgrade is what it is. With it users will get:
- Better support for all platforms including iPad and Android tablets
- All the common features of both services combined into a single place
- Screen sharing
- Video calling between mobile phones
- Mobile and video calling to Facebook friends
The post also says that Skype will be offering information over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth migration.