Microsoft started sending out emails to Windows Live Messenger users to inform them that Windows Live Messenger would be retired on March 15, as part of its plans to merge the Messenger service with the Skype platform.
While WLM will be officially discontinued approximately two months from now, the Messenger service will continue to live on for a while, so third-party clients will still be able to connect.
A Microsoft spokesperson told ArsTechnica that March 15 is only the date when the company begins the transition to Skype, without an official date to completely retire the service.
The emails sent by Microsoft to its users, however, seem to be a bit misleading, as they say nothing about the Messenger service itself, but only inform that Windows Live Messenger would be retired in mid-March.
For many users, Windows Live Messenger and the Messenger service are the same thing, so it’s easy to be tricked into believing that you have no other choice than to move to Skype as soon as possible.
Here’s what the email says about the users who wish to stick to Messenger after March 15:
“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.”
The only hint that the Messenger service won’t be killed in March shows up at the end of the email and says that “if you use another phone with Messenger on it, it will continue to work for a while.”
The Messenger – Skype merger has already begun, but many users are reporting transition bugs that get their contact list removed. More information about this is available here.