Microsoft is pushing Google Chat and Facebook Chat out of Outlook.com. Not surprisingly, it is urging those that need a chat application in Outlook.com to look to its own option, Skype.
In a statement emailed to Outlook.com users this morning, Microsoft explained that it had made the decision because of Google’s decision to discontinue using the the chat protocol XMPP.
Change of Strategy
According to the Google Developers blog, XMPP, Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol, is an standard that enables instant messaging. It was originally called Jabber.
However, the Outlook.com notification did not explain why it had dumped Facebook chat, except to say that if users were looking for a chat service, they’d be better off with Skype. "We understand that this may disappoint some of our customers, but we hope that you’ll try Skype for Outlook.com chat, and voice and video calling, so you can take advantage of the more robust ways to keep in touch with friends and family," it noted.
The rest of the statement outlines how you can make Skype work directly from your inbox.
For those that use either Facebook or Google chat service in Outlook.com, Microsoft’ decision may seem a bit churlish. But in the context of the growing competition within the instant messaging market it is understandable (Facebook paid $19 billion for WhatsApp).
Outlook.com has been under pressure here for at least a year, particularly after WhatsApp announced at the Mobile World Congress last year that it was adding voice calls to the service. Google Hangouts, which replaced Talk also has an extensive audience.
The move also plays into Microsoft’s strategy of unifying all its products and tying its portfolio of products together. For users, though, it’s just an added irritant to their day because they will have to keep several chat services open, instead of operating them from a single space.