How MSN’s demise will effect 3rd-party messengers

By now you’ve heard that legendary chat app, MSN Messenger (or, more correctly, Windows Live Messenger), began to shut down its services this past Monday.

If you’re an MSN user, the situation is fairly simple – swap to Skype, as Microsoft recommends, or pick an alternative client. But what if you use a multi-protocol client, like Digsby, Miranda or Pidgin?

Luckily, Microsoft has foreseen this problem and has provided clear instructions. From the mouth of the horse…

Software that uses the XMPP protocol include Digsby and Trillian, as well as MSN clones like aMSN. Pidgin, meanwhile, is one of the apps that uses MSP.

You will be able to use MSN with these apps until October 2013, or March 2014 at the latest.

So what does this mean for users?

Well, you have some time – ranging from a few months to a whole year, to figure out what to do, but we’d recommend against merging your MSN account with Skype, because as things stand, very few chat clients support it. Trillian is the notable exception, but even this client doesn’t work with the latest version of Skype. Also bear in mind that once you upgrade to Skype, you won’t be able to roll it back in order to use your old chat client.

Our advice?

If you’re intent on using a multi-protocol client, and you want to continue to use your Windows Live Messenger account, don’t merge now. There’s a good chance it won’t work with Skype, and once you’ve made the jump, there’s no going back. Instead, take the next few months to take a look at your chat habits – MSN has been around for a very long time, and many people have moved on to new ways of keeping in touch. Last time I checked, I had one lonely contact on MSN – I talk to everybody else on Gmail, Whatsapp or Facebook Chat. Maybe it’s time for you to make the move too?

If you  need more information of the shut-down of Windows Live Messenger, take a look at our complete guide, here.

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