Microsoft finally confirmed earlier today that it plans to retire Windows Live Messenger and implement its features into Skype, which basically means that all WLM users have no other option than to make the transition to the VoIP app.
WLM will, however, continue to be offered in China, Microsoft said without offering any reason for this decision.
Chinese website Sina Tech explains that it’s all because of the joint ventures Microsoft currently has in China, as both the Windows Live Messenger and Skype are offered to Chinese buyers with the help of local companies.
Windows Live Messenger is provided to Chinese users by Microsoft together with Shanghai Alliance Investment through the joint venture called MSN Network Communications Technology Company (MSN China) formed in May 2005.
Skype, on the other hand, is the fruit of a collaboration between Microsoft and TOM Online, with the Chinese company holding 51 percent of the shares. The joint venture was also formed in 2005.
In case Microsoft wants to proceed with the merger, the move would imply many more changes, not only to the two products, but also to the joint ventures it operates in China. People would have to be fired because the companies would no longer need their services, so Microsoft could after all get in trouble with the Chinese government.
On the other hand, the rest of the world will have to migrate to Skype, as the transition will take place in the first month of 2013. Skype has already been updated with Microsoft account support, so whenever you’re ready to dump Windows Live Messenger, simply download the new Skype 6.0 and you’re done.
Microsoft is also expected to launch some “special offers” for those making the move, but more information is available here.