July 23, 2024


The end of an era is fast approaching; MSN Messenger is being retired.

Microsoft sent out an email on Jan. 10 to millions of users stating that the once popular messenger service will be shut down on March 15.

Instead, MSN will be replaced with Skype, a voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) and messenger service that was bought by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion. User accounts will be transferred to Skype, along with all contact lists.

These changes will have a global effect, with the exception of China.

This email was mass mailed to all users:

“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.”

Following the announcement, Microsoft included a link to download Skype, which has a few advantages over MSN. Skype is both PC and Mac compatible, and allows users to participate in calls even if one user is on a Mac and the other on a PC. Additionally, Skype has a mobile application, which received first-rate reviews, for iPhones, Android and other platforms.

In comparison, MSN Messenger didn’t support webcams for Mac users and insisted on upgrading to a corporate account for a fee to be able to use them. Also a mobile application doesn’t exist.

While the change may sound like a step forward, saying goodbye to MSN is easier said than done for some.

“Most of my free time as a teenager was spent talking to my friends on MSN,” said Brent Page, a first-year general arts and science pre-health student. “It’s weird to think that it’s not going to be around anymore, but I guess it makes sense. Nobody uses it now that we have Facebook chat and Skype.”

But even with the introduction of other messenger services, some hangers-on continue to sign in to MSN.

Shari Maharaj, a 20-year-old student at the University of Toronto, still uses it. “I’ve been using MSN since Grade 5 when I created my first email account,” she said. “My contact list went from about 150 to maybe 10 people who still go online. I think it’s still the best way to talk to people because Facebook chat is annoying.”

Carter DeAngelis, a 20-year-old Waterloo resident, said, “I only recently deleted MSN because of the amount of space it took up on my computer, but it’s a bummer that it’s shutting down. MSN got it right. The other messenger systems were pretty lame in comparison.”

But even with high praise, DeAngelis agrees that switching to Skype is a good idea, and said that “MSN had its time.”