Messenger era to come to an end March 15th

Windows_Live_Messenger_LogoAlthough we haven’t received an email (yet), a number of sites are reporting that Microsoft has sent out emails today announcing that the last day for Windows Live Messenger will be March 15th, 2013.

As we reported earlier, Microsoft acknowledged that it was ending the life of Windows Live Messenger, and replacing it with the Skype client, sometime in “the first quarter” of 2013.  Now, according to these emails, that date has been revealed to be March 15th.

So what will happen?  According to a FAQ included in the email (via The Next Web), after having prompted Messenger users to upgrade to Skype, on March 15th that move will be made mandatory:

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 desktops** 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.

** Newer versions of Messenger will be able to receive the optional upgrade notifications. Older versions will not receive the notifications and you will have to download Skype manually.

While there’s not much we can do about the upcoming switch, we can’t help but feel that the move to Skype, which in the long run should be a good move and will offer better video calling and the brand power of Skype, isn’t much more than a step backward in functionality, at least for now.  No tabbed conversations, a dated interface, seemingly lots of bugs, no instant photo sharing… the list of what’s missing in Skype vs. Windows Live Messenger goes on and on.

Still, we bit the bullet and switched to Skype after the initial announcement, and it’s a workable, if not enjoyable, IM client.  If you haven’t made the switch, you have until March 15th to make the move, willingly or otherwise.