Published on November 17th, 2012 | by Amy Edwards0
RIP: MSN Messenger
By Amy @BubbleJobs
It’s official: MSN Messenger (aka Windows Live Messenger) is dead. Yep, in what will be sad news for 90′s/2000′s kids, Microsoft announced it would be scrapping the online chat tool earlier this week.
Now, I have to admit, when I heard the news I was… well, a bit sad. Why? Because before mobile phones were a. affordable and b. accessible and before the likes of MySpace and Facebook, MSN Messenger (it was renamed Windows Live Messenger in 2006) was the only way to stay connected to your friends online.
OK, email was always an option but when you’re a 15/16 year old, you can’t be bothered with email, you want instant chat functionality with your friends, regardless of the fact you’ve just spent the last eight hours with them at school! You want to be able to ask your friends a question and get an instant reply and vice versa.
If you think about it; MSN Messenger was a bit like one of the first social networking tools. OK, so it was a lot more private than things like Facebook and it was just a real-time chat platform but it allowed you to connect with your friends over the World Wide Web away from the prying eyes of your parents.
That’s not to say anything untoward went on (although I’m sure it must have done in certain situations), but MSN Messenger allowed you to have online conversations and show off your personality from the comfort of your home PC – it was perfect for shy teenagers who wanted to wouldn’t say ‘boo’ to a goose in person but would happily chat to their peers over MSN Messenger.
But MSN Messenger wasn’t just popular with teenagers. Before Skype was around, MSN Messenger was the only affordable online platform on which you could chat to someone who lived on the opposite side of the world. In 2009, the tool was reported to have 330 million active worldwide users and, believe it or not, was reported to have more than double the number of users of Skype’s instant messaging service in the US (second only to Yahoo! Messenger) at the start of the year.
So what’s gone wrong? Why have Microsoft decided to give MSN (sorry, Windows Live) Messenger the boot? One word; Skype. Yep, following Microsoft’s $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype last March, Bill Gates and Co. have seen the number of WLM users fall significantly over the last 12 months (48%), while the number of users using Skype’s instant messaging services have grown significantly.
According to Gartner, because Microsoft has two products that serve practically the same purpose, it makes sense for the company to focus on one to avoid “cannibilisation”.
So when can we expect to wave adios to WLM then? Microsoft have said the platform will be turned off worldwide by March 2013, with the exception of China.
So there you go; just like MySpace (even with the help of good old Justin Timberlake, is it really ever going to be as popular as it once was?!), MSN Messenger is the latest casualty in the social networking story – goodbye old friend, it was good while it lasted.