Microsoft is combining its two instant messaging services. The latest versions of Skype for Windows and Mac computers let you chat with your Windows Live Messenger contacts. And early next year Microsoft is going to kill off the standalone Messenger app altogether.

Skype Messenger

Messenger has been around for a dozen years at this point, and it’s gone through a few name changes along the way. Remember MSN Messenger?

But this is the biggest change by far. You’ll still be able to use the Skype app to send instant messages to your existing contacts. But Skype is much more than a chat app. It has a heavy emphasis on voice and video calls, and even allows users to purchase credit that lets you make calls to phone numbers — or buy a phone number that lets people call you on Skype from any phone.

Skype also supports group video calls, screen sharing, and other features that Messenger lacked.

In some ways, Microsoft is basically positioning Skype as the next version of Windows Live Messenger and encouraging users to upgrade to the new app. But with about 100 million active users to migrate, there’s a chance that some folks might get lost in the shuffle.

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3 replies on “Microsoft retiring Messenger in 2013, merging it with Skype”

  1. Msn messenger was the good thing. Then microsoft bought it and turned it into windows live messenger, that got worse and worse with every incarnation. Then microsoft bought skype. Skype got worse and worse with every update since then. Now microsoft is uniting its ruining ability all into one inferior application. just MS style.

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