Parri Munsell from Skype revealed on Friday the "next chapter" in migrating Messenger users over to Skype. The whole process was expected to be completed by March 15, 2013 for all territories save for China (where Messenger is still highly popular). But now the company has revealed that the "upgrade" won't begin until April.
Microsoft said back in November that it planned to finally retire the Messenger client after it faithfully served users since 1999. But first the company needed to corral all the Messenger users and herd them over to the Redmond company's new IM of choice, Skype, which it purchased for $8.5 billion in May 2011. Currently Messenger users can sign into the Skype client using Microsoft credentials and see their Messenger friends dangling amidst their Skype and Facebook peeps.
"We want everyone who uses Messenger to have a positive experience. Upgrading to Skype can help you communicate in flexible ways, and be connected on more devices and platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS, Windows Phone, Android and soon Blackberry," Munsell said on Friday.
Munsell said that the upgrade from Messenger to Skype on Windows desktop will start on April 8 for everyone save for mainland China, and the process should take a few weeks to complete. The English language clients will see the upgrade first, and the process will end with the Brazilian Portuguese clients on April 30 or later.
"As Messenger users upgrade to Skype on their desktops, we also encourage them to download Skype on their mobile devices, and sign in with their Microsoft account to check out all that Skype has to offer," Munsell added.
Microsoft's Messenger, aka MSN Messenger, launched in the midst of AIM and ICQ battling for IM dominance in 1999. Eventually the two killed each other off after AOL purchased ICQ developer Mirabilis just one year prior, giving Messenger plenty of room to grow. Microsoft's chat client switched over to the Windows Live Messenger label back in 2005 with the launch of version 8. Microsoft eventually integrated the IM service into the Xbox 360 Spring 2007 Dashboard Update back in May 2007.
IM clients have seemingly taken a hit in the revenue belt thanks to smartphones, tablets and Facebook. Prior to Microsoft's acquisition, Skype held its ground by offering clear VoIP calling in addition to instant messaging. The integration of Facebook Messenger also helped propel Skype's popularity.
Current users of Skype and Messenger can sign into the former client with their Microsoft credentials by clicking on the "Microsoft Account" option on the sign-on screen, as seen below. This will likely change with the April "upgrade" client.