Microsoft Messenger users are advised to begin migrating to Skype.
Microsoft to Messenger users: Turn off the lights, the party's over. Well, it soon will be, anyway. Microsoft has begun emailing the more than 100 million Messenger users in the wild to inform them that it's pulling the plug on its instant messaging service on March 15, 2013. At that time, they'll be forced to upgrade to Skype, provided they want to keep all their contacts intact.
While giving a speech on cloud computing at the University of Sau Paulo in Brazil on Wednesday, Steve Ballmer used the opportunity show off Microsoft's newest version of Windows Live Messenger.
"The new Messenger will provide a great way to have more meaningful conversations with the people you care about most while bringing together your social networks and sharing updates, cutting through the clutter, and staying up to date with your favorite friends,' Microsoft said in a statement.
Microsoft is making an effort to modernize its instant messaging program, and when it ships, it will come with a handful of new features, such as tabbed conversations, HD quality video chats, the ability to share websites and search results, and will be able to pull in updates from other social networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn.
Part of the focus on social networking will include being able to send Facebook messages to other users from within the IM client, the ability to update your status, and prioritize favorite Facebook friends to be sure you see their updates before everyone else's.
Microsoft plans to release a beta version in the coming months, with a final version slated for later this year.
This past Tuesday Yahoo released the latest version of their instant messaging program, Messenger 9.0. With the release, they’ve introduced a slew of new features including a brand new interface, chat window, improved spam control, and the Yahoo Messenger Pingbox.
The new interface is more spread out than previous versions, allowing for larger avatars and the ability to post status messages. Also included in the new interface is the ability to import your contacts in bulk from your e-mail, IM, or Facebook contact lists using third party operator TrueSwitch. TrueSwitch will search through your address books and find users already on Yahoo and shoot them a friend invite on your behalf.
The new chat window ups the ease-of-use factor, allowing users to drop maps, images, videos or links directly into the chat box when you want to share them with your friends. Being able to check out videos and images without even leaving your IM client is mighty convenient. Yahoo also made a reversal from their dime-sized emoticons, scaling them down to give them a much cleaner look.
The final big feature is the Yahoo Messenger Pingbox, which is brand new with this release. It allows for web site owners (such as bloggers, eBay sellers, and social networking power users) to chat in real time with anyone visiting their site. This is a step up over lurking your inbox, waiting for a reply e-mail from the site owner that you’re trying to get in contact with. For the owner of the site these Pingboxes are simple to use, and highly customizable. Everything from the aesthetics of the window, to sending out a broadcast message to your site’s users, you’ll be given lots of control.