Messenger users: It’s time to update to Skype

We reported on the demise of Microsoft’s long serving Messenger instant chat and video calling service some time back. If you are already an existing user then you’ll have been greeted with pop up notices urging you to update to Skype over the last month or so.

Seems like Microsoft is now putting the word out in full, an official email was sent to users today explaining what you’ll need to do and how long the service will continue to work for.

Here is what Microsoft have to say:

"On 15th March 2013 we are retiring the existing Messenger service globally (except for mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available) and bringing the great features of Messenger and Skype together. Update to Skype and sign in using a Microsoft Account (same as your Messenger ID) and all your Messenger contacts will be at your fingertips. You'll be able to instant message and video chat with them just like before, and also discover new ways of staying in touch with Skype on your mobile and tablet."

Before Skype was added to the mix the instant messaging service had been pretty straightforward to use. The ability to use messenger is baked right into Windows Phone and with the latest version even forms part of the new Rooms functionality. Now that we are moving away from messenger there will need to be a change to replicate all that by replacing it with Skype. That is something we still have not been informed about from Microsoft which isnt ideal.

New to Skype?

  1. Get the latest version of Skype. (opens in new tab)
  2. Sign in to Skype with your Microsoft Account.

Already have Skype?

  1. Update to the latest version of Skype.
  2. Sign in with your Microsoft Account.
  3. Merge your existing Skype account with your Microsoft Account.

Here are just a few of the great features that you can use with Skype:

  • Instant message, video call and call phones from your PC, Mac, Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android mobile, Kindle Fire and other devices
  • Sharing your screen with friends and family
  • Video call and instant message with your Facebook friends
  • Group video call with up to ten friends at once*
  • And that's just the start - there's so much more to explore on Skype

So, what's happening between now and 15th March?

Messenger will continue to work as you know it today. If you are signed in with Messenger on your desktop you will see a banner notification to upgrade. When you click on the banner, an installer window will open with the request to upgrade. This will take you through our installer flow to install Skype and automatically uninstall Messenger.

So, what's happening after 15th March?

Messenger users on desktop will not be able to sign in and will only be able to upgrade to Skype. If you attempt to sign in, a notification will appear, and if you continue, you will be taken through our installer flow to install Skype and automatically uninstall Messenger at the same time.

Right now, having both messenger and Skype is confusing and quite frankly we’re looking forward to having one client for IM and voice and video. There are a growing number of users who are concerned that Messenger is going due to certain features and ways of working simply won’t be there.

You’ll have until the 15th of March to keep using Messenger then it’s time to dive in with Skype, in the meantime please let us know how you’re getting on if you have moved over already. We’d like to also hear your thoughts on this change and how it affects you. Please let us know in the comments below. 

  • I have done this and obviously there are a few things missing. One which I could not find is the remote assistance. I was always getting asked for help and one of the easy ways to do it Remote was through MSN messenger. I wonder if they will incorporate this into skype somehow.
  • I was looking for this too. Skype still doesn't have all messengers functionality yet.
  • Me too. I regularly used remote assistance to help friends out through messenger. Now we have to use the Windows integrated Remote Assistance. Assuming Windows 8, open the Charms and click the search icon. Type in "Remote Assistance but before you search, set the search scope to search "Settings". Failure click on "Settings" as where to search will cause your search to come up empty. Then the Remote Assistance program will show in results and you can open it. One more hint: after you open Remote Assistance, especially on Windows 8, be sure to pin it to the Start Screen or Task bar so you don't have to go through all this search business again :)
  • Most people I help I've installed Avast Free edition. It has a remote assist built into it and works wonderfully. Its a great alternative.
  • There are plenty features not implemented. An example is if you copy something on your pc you can paste it in messenger, text, files anything. And if you tap the print button you can simply paste and screenshot in messenger just ctrl + v or right click paste. Skype is good but far from what the messenger is. I hope they will implement everything what messenger has into skype
  • Team Viewer worked pretty well for me for remote assistance, wonder if Skype is going to get all the functionalities down the road (like remote assistance/white board/etc...)
  • Just updated. Nice branding
  • Curious to see how this affects Rooms and I assume at some point Skype messaging will get baked in and I won't have to open it every time. 
  • Yes, I was wondering what will happen to Messenger part of Messaging on Windows Phones. On Windows Phone 8 it would be easy, I suppose, tu push a tiny update to address the issue, but what about WP7.5/8? There will be people out there who will be perfectly happy with 7.8.
    I currently use IM+ to keep my Skype chat on. If a third party application can do that, so can a native app. :) I mean, on WP8 it does stay connected in the background, right? :) The next logical step would be to eliminate the need for a Skype app altogether (something I believed would happen with WP8 but it hasn't)...
    In any case, I just hope user experience won't be degraded. :)
  • And not just rooms. You can switch to messenger when sending a text messenger if you have them on your friends list. I wonder if that 'service' will stay up.
  • I had the same thoughts. If Messenger is killed without Skype being fully integrated into Windows Phone messaging / Rooms, then MS is really shooting itself in the foot.  I hope this is not the case.
  • So far, I haven't seen ANYTHING to indicate the contrary.  I have even asked some folks within Microsoft that very question, and they don't have an idea what will happen.  As it stands, Skype will continue to be a seperate app you install, and has no other integration into the phone other than the dialer (recieving Skype VOIP/Video calls) and the People Hub (currently disabled with the 2.1 version for Windows Phone 8.)
  • I'm willing to bet that the built-in messaging features will continue to work as usual. Skype is already using the Messenger network, just as the built-in apps are.
  • Apple has iMessage as a free messaging service only exclusively to apple products. Microsoft has Messenger. Now that it's going to be skype, we will lose exclusivity in my opinion. Will skype be integrated into WP7.8/7.5/8 just like messesnger was? Or will it just be as simple as just changing the name on WP from messesnger to skype ? Many unanswered questions.
  • I don't view iMessage as a benefit being exclusive to Apple products. How many friends or other people you communicate with only have Apple devices? Now, how many of them use Skype? I'd bet more have Skype than Apple devices.
  • Would we be getting Skype for Xbox with Kinect too? With this change it has been tough doing Kinect to PC video calls.
  • i am having a lumia 610, how its gonna effect me if i am using messenger on my phone and skype not available ?
  • Skype uses the Messenger network so there should be no change to you except now you can chat with anyone who has Skype installed on their phone or PC.
  • A field of uncertainty, but we hope they have solutions to our questions and are able to provide quick fixes if there are problems in this transition. I've been a messenger user for years and will hate to see it go.
  • What about messaging for Windows 8? Currently it overlaps with Skype when both are running, which I find annoying. But since Skype still doesn't merge Messenger and Skype contacts properly, I kinda like the standard messenger for Win8.
  • This is going to be confusing for a lot of People. Wrong move, time frame is too short
  • Ok, even though win8 is rising i'd really like to see a more simplistic and slimmer win7 client. I really like the thought of using Skype as a part of the MS ecosystem... but with this thick and bulky client?!?????????? NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
  • No way of knowing of new emails?
  • What's with mainland china? How come it won't be retired there?
  • I also wonder what will happen in China. I guess the integration will still be there, may be there will be the option to keep the two separated if you want. 
    Will they do so depending on the IP? Let's say I'll move to China but I already fused the two apps, what are my options? We will know in March I guess..
  • I hope this means that Skype on WP8 is coming out of beta.
  • +1
  • I've used both for years - MSN for my friends, Skype for my colleagues. Will the Skype client allow me to be logged into these two accounts at the same time, as I currently do?
  • Yes, it already does so.
  • What about offline messaging?! It's not available in Skype and it's a royal PITA!
  • And Skype, technically in beta, is still unable to stay alive in the background.
  • Skype sucks on my computer leave me with MSN at least i didn't have drop videos and calls with msn.
  • Some of us (as stated before) are still locked on our 7.5/7.8 devices for a while yet, and I would really like to hear a statement from MS regarding how they plan to address the baked-in messenger feature. A while back in a discussion here, someone said that since skype is now running the messenger back-end, nothing will change, we might just see a rebranding of sorts. However if that happens than why the separate skype app?
  • Well, the Skype app comes with features not present in the built-in Messaging, such as video. I'm one of those who said that nothing should change since all the apps are now using the Messenger network, although I agree that there seems to be a lot of confusion, which should be addressed by Microsoft with some sort of statement.
  • Does Skype support the creation of groups like windows live Msgr? I use MSN at work to communicate with the team I manage as many of us are remote workers...
  • Yes, though you need to buy a Skype premium account.
  • I wouldn't object to this so much if it wasn't breaking more than it's fixing. There's a number of features in WLM that just don't exist elsewhere, and I must ask... why the hell Skype isn't integrating into the People/Messaging hubs in W8 and WP8 the way WLM does. This is a huge step backwards for Microsoft. It feels like Xbox Music all over again.
  • They said in the last WP8 Skype update that they temporarily removed the integration to the people hub until they fixed some issues.  That's what was causing some "endless sync" issues on the WP8 devices a while back.  It will be back in the next update likely.  And I would suspect before March 15th.
  • I guess MS should just release an update to both WP versions with Skype running in the background built-in the OS and not as a standalone app. This will be one of the biggest news of 'em all (same as when the iPhone got Facetime)
  • Skype for windows phone 8 is buggy. But windows 8 one is cool.
  • Skype still doesn't even update messages in realtime on WP8, so they better get that fixed by March 15.  I can't even manually refresh.  It will be a day or more sometimes before my Lumia 920 displays the latest messages I have received on Skype.  
    As far as functionality goes, and things working the way they are supposed to, my WP7.5 experience was far superior to WP8.
  • where exactly do u update i never got this email
  • As skype uses 2/3 the phone battery each day, they'd better fix that before March...
  • So does this mean they are going to fix the Skype app on WP by March 15th, it would really suck if they didn't.
  • What about messenger on Xbox and WP ?
  • The Skype app is poorly done - beta be damned. Also MSFT should have fully baked Skype into WP8. Typical MSFT cluster....their core apps that they own/update are unpolished (Skype) to terrible (Xbox Music/Video). They apparently aren't very serious about Mobility...and I say this as an avid fan.
  • Too true.
  • "Update to Skype and sign in using a Microsoft Account (same as your Messenger ID) and all your Messenger contacts will be at your fingertips"
    Yeah, sure. But keep in mind, that when joining skype that way, your Skype account and password is automatically generated and there's no possibility od resetting that password. Meaning you can only sign in using your MS account on Windows Desktop, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8. You won't be able to sign in on a WP7 device, as the WP7 version still supports only Skype logins and paswords. If you don't have a Skype account yet and plan to use it on a WP7 device - set up a regular Skype account first and then link it to your MS account.  
  • I have merged by Skype and Microsoft acct and can still sign in on my wp7.5 skype
  • Wtf msft why you always make everything complicated... How is this gonna affect my l900 I dont even have 7.8 yet shit!!
  • Isn't facebook message on WP device routed through Messenger? So if they kill of messenger how is facebook chat going to work. I don't want to have to launch an app just to use messenger, and on WP7, the skyp app does not run in the background so I would have to keep it open. Really MS, first you leave your WP7 phones behind, promis us some magical update to make it look new, and then you do something like this. 
    MS, GOOGLE, All these guys are starting to piss me off. They don't care about their existing userbase anymore, it's all about new users, and fuck the guys that have gotten us this far. 
  • Another problem: Skype verifies the age of users when they sign up with Microsoft account. IN Canada you have to be 16!
  • So I have to move to China to keep using Windows Live Messenger? WTF Microsoft, I don't know how to speak Chinese!
  • Get ready for more change beyond this. The next step on Microsoft's roadmap with Skype is merging it with Lync. This will be a "best of both worlds" scenario.
  • I am currently learning Chinese with native speakers through and I must say that they present very good quality but I would like to try another option in order to choose the best, if anyone have information that may help I would be thankful