MSN Messenger to shut down after 15 years of service

The instant messaging programme lost favour at Microsoft when it bought out Skype

Microsoft’s previously hugely popular MSN Messenger, or Windows Live Messenger as it is now known, will be shelved in October – bringing an end to the 15-year-old service.

The computing giant originally announced its plans to move MSN users over to Skype last year, but the service continued to run in China.

From 31 October, Chinese users of the programme will also have to revert to Skype.

MSN Messenger was launched in 1999 to rival AOL’s popular AIM service - propelling the two into a battle to become the most-used instant messenger worldwide, the Verge reported.

As recently as 2009, Windows Live still had as many as 330 million users and was an integral part of life for teenagers, in the same way that social media is today.

During the programme’s lifetime, Microsoft adding more features to the service – including custom emoticons, games between players, and a ‘nudge’ function which would shake a friend’s chat window to grab their attention.

But when Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5bn (£5.1bn) in 2012 Windows Live Messenger lost favour at the business. Figures later declined as Skype gained popularity, and by 2012, Skype had nearly 300 million users.

The service has only been available in China since 2005, where it competed with domestic equivalents QQ Messenger.

Windows Live users in China received an email from Microsoft announcing the closure on Thursday and added they would receive free Skype credit if they migrated, Chinese newspapers reported according to BBC News.

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