Good news for those of you still clinging to Windows Live Messenger in its current form — it looks like you’ll able to keep using it for just a little bit longer. It’s no secret that Microsoft would retire its 13 year old messaging service in favor of the one it paid $8.5 billion for, but Skype announced in a post on its blog that the timeline for the official transition process has been pushed back by a hair.
Microsoft announced to some users of the Live Messenger service last month that it would make its transition to Skype on March 15, but The Verge’s Tom Warren reports that only a “small number” of people will actually make the move on that date. A bigger test group was supposed to transition on the 15th, but apparently early tests were promising enough that the size of the first group was scaled down.
Skype notes that the process for all the others will start on April 8 — not much of a reprieve for longstanding Live Messenger users, but enough time for them to get their affairs in order. Users of the English language version of WLM will be the first to be transitioned (Skype seems to prefer the word “upgrade”) to Skype in April, and the process is set to continue for a few weeks until the Brazilian Portuguese version gets its makeover. That last update is slated to take place no earlier than April 30, but after that there’s no option to fight the change. For what it’s worth, Skype is working to make this whole rigmarole as pain-free as possible — they’ll be pre-streaming the client data to the user, so the upgrade will be already on the machine when the notification arrives.
There are some caveats here, for better or worse. Should you be reading this from China, you can rest easy (or not, as the case may be) knowing that the news doesn’t apply to you, and perhaps more importantly, this move only applies to desktop-based Windows Live Messenger users. Neither Microsoft nor Skype has discussed when they plan to cut off mobile support, and that lack of communication extends to third-party app developers too — that said, Skype Marketing Integration Director Parri Munsell confirmed to ZDNet that each the APIs that allow access to Windows Live Messenger will “eventually be shut down” and that the timing of changes was largely up to those third-party developers to announce.
Additional reporting by Frederic Lardinois