Microsoft is retiring its Windows Live Messenger client in favor of Skype. The Windows Messenger service will be discontinued in the first quarter of 2013 and integrated into Skype. Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion last year, and people have been left wondering what their plans were for the popular VoIP program.
SiliconANGLE contributing editor John Casaretto believes this is part of Microsoft’s plans for moving into a more consumer-oriented position. Skype has around 600 million users, and Windows Messenger has about 300 million users.
The transition to Skype should be fairly painless to Messenger users, where only an update needs to installed, which in turn un-installs Messenger, and all user data, including contacts, will be transferred to Skype’s system.
With Skype having more features than Messenger and more popularity globally, it didn’t make sense to keep both products running side by side. Casaretto believes Microsoft will continue to integrate Skype into both their tablet and phone businesses, with Skype apps on the way as well. ”You can fully expect them to run head-first into the tablet, the phone business that they’re building . . . it’s already a tangent part of their Office365 subscriptions. They’ve got a number of minutes that are baked into the subscriptions now.”
Casaretto noted there’s also an interesting cross-over with Microsoft’s professional messaging product called Lync, which also has meeting capabilities, voice conference, and presentation features. Lync is used by many corporations and was originally designed to replace old school PBX’s. According to Casaretto, it’s one of Microsoft’s hottest sellers in the enterprise world, and it will be interesting to see if they keep it as a separate product from Skype.
In terms of overall strategy, Casaretto feels they’re continuing down the consumer track.
“They’re building around this core of consumer products – the tablets, the phones, Skype …
things people are seeing every day. They’re trying to seal the deal.” See the whole segment with Kristin Feledy and John Casaretto on the Morning NewsDesk show.