Microsoft discontinues Messenger for Mac in favor of Skype

Messenger for Mac 8Microsoft acquired Skype in May 2011 for $8.5 billion. At the time no one knew what Microsoft was planning since it already had its own free Windows Messenger Live system with more than twice the number of Skype users. In late 2012 Microsoft announced it would be discontinuing its Messenger service in favor of Skype and in early January 2013 it announced March 15 would be the cutoff date. The Messenger service would continue only for mainland China.

Messenger for Mac 8.0.2, released January 31, is presumably the final update for the software. Both Microsoft AutoUpdate and the installer for the 8.0.2 update clearly indicate the Messenger service is discontinuing and encourage current users to move to Skype.

Their Read Me screen says:

“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.”

Messenger 8.0.2 Read Me

Customers with separate Windows Live Messenger, Facebook and Skype accounts can opt to merge their Skype accounts into their Microsoft accounts when launching Skype for the first time.

  1. Launch Skype.
  2. Log in using using a Windows Live ID.
  3. When prompted, click the I have a Skype account button.
    Merge Skype contacts
  4. Enter the Skype account’s name and password. Click the Sign in button.
    Skype credentials
  5. Verify the two accounts are correct and click the Continue button. Note that signing into Skype using Microsoft credentials will sign out instances of Messenger logged in elsewhere.
    Merge accounts

Merging one account with another doesn’t prevent the user from using either account, however, he can only merge each account once. Logging in to either account will show the same contacts list.

Subsequent launches of Skype will display a Windows Live style login.

Microsoft login

However, to continue using a Skype account the user just simply clicks the Sign in with a different account link at the bottom of the login window.

Skype login

Optionally, Facebook users can click the Facebook link on the same page to log in with their accounts. They’ll have the option to merge their Skype accounts into Facebook as well.

Facebook login

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