by Andy Patrizio
Microsoft continues to dispose of the Live product line, eliminating products and the brand name, slowly but surely in recent months. The most recent victim is Live Messenger, the two-way real-time chat utility meant to compete with AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo Chat.
In a blog post on Tuesday, Tony Bates, head of Microsoft’s Skype division, the company will retire Messenger in all countries worldwide in the first quarter of 2013, with the exception of mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available.
He did not elaborate on why China continues to get Messenger. A Microsoft spokesperson said “Microsoft has made this decision based on market dynamic and at this time, this is the best solution.”
The writing was on the wall a few weeks back when Microsoft issued Skype 6.0, which allowed users to merge their Live Messenger users into Skype. In addition, Windows 8 didn’t have a Messenger client, just Skype, with built-in Messenger support.
Bates said Messenger clients will gain a bunch of features from Skype not found in Messenger, like broader device support, including iPad and Android tablets, instant messaging, video calling, and calling landlines and mobiles all in one application, sharing screens, video calling on mobile phones, video calling with Facebook friends and group video calling.
Microsoft has been slowly winding down the Live brand, both the name and products, for the last few months. It killed Live as a brand and it’s merging other services. Live Mail and Hotmail have been merged into Outlook.com, which is almost Facebook-like in its friend tracking capabilities.
“And consolidation is the answer here”, said David Smith, senior research analyst with Gartner. “This is consolidation down to a single client/app [that] reduces the overlapping functionality between the two. Plus, overall I think Skype integration is a key component of Windows 8 OS,” he said.
Smith added that Live Messenger usage has been decreasing and it was just an instant messenger, the same thing Skype had, but Skype also had mobility support and voice and video. So the choice was obvious.