The Skype team is planning to replace the Messenger instant-messaging client with Skype messaging a lot sooner than many expected.
Mary Jo Foley
Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network.
After months of leaked bits, Microsoft's Skype division is finally opening the informational tap.
We've already seen and now used the new Windows 8 Skype client. We've heard there's a Windows Phone 8 Skype client coming -- though it's still not in the Windows Phone Store and Skype reps are not sharing more on when it will be.
"We will retire Messenger in all countries worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 (with the exception of mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available)," according to the post. By that time, consumers who want to use instant messaging will have no choice but to use Skype for that. (Business instant messaging will still be largely the province of Microsoft's Lync, though Lync-Skype federation is coming at some point.)
On the back-end, in the months after Microsoft's acquisition of Skype was finalized, the pair have been moving Skype to use the Windows Messenger infrastructure. Storage of pictures, video and other Skype content is now happening on Windows Azure.
Once users migrate from Messenger to Skype, they will be able to use not just Skype's instant messaging, but also its video calling, Skype's landline calling capability, screen sharing, video calling on mobile phones and with Facebook friends and Group Calling, according to today's post.
The Skype team's ultimate goal is to convince consumers to leave Skype running on their machines all day and use chat as the first place they go when they sign in.