Microsoft says Skype will replace Messenger online chat service

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 November, 2012, 3:25am

Microsoft has announced that its recently acquired Skype service will replace its Messenger online chat service in the first quarter of next year - a move that is unlikely to surprise many tech-savvy Hongkongers.

"We've got good news to share! Skype and Messenger are coming together," Skype said in a post at its website. "Millions of Messenger users will be able to reach their Messenger friends on Skype."

Messenger will "retire" in all countries worldwide in the first quarter of next year, "with the exception of mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available", the post says.

It does not say whether people in Hong Kong will be able to use Messenger from next year.

Alicia Lam Wing-ching, 24, said she knew it was just a matter of time before Messenger was replaced.

"It was just like when Messenger replaced ICQ a few years ago," she said.

Lam, who returned to Hong Kong two years ago after graduating from university in Australia, said Skype was popular among students studying abroad who needed to stay in touch with friends in Hong Kong.

"Although Messenger also offers video calls, Skype works much better as it is a lot smoother," she said.

She and 21-year-old Ben Lam Siu-pan, deputy secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, stopped using Messenger several years ago.

Ben Lam said that Messenger had been increasingly sidelined by other social network tools such as Skype and Facebook.

Skype was launched in 2003 and was acquired by Microsoft for US$8.5 billion last year.

It offers features such as video calls and users can even use it to call mobile phones from computers.

A Skype function on Facebook allows conversations between multiple users.