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Microsoft's Messenger service to live on

Redmond is killing off its Live Messenger client in favor of Skype, but the underlying Messenger service will continue to run, at least until next year.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
Live Messenger is going away, but the Messenger service is sticking around.
Live Messenger is going away, but the Messenger service is sticking around. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft's Messenger service will survive despite the upcoming death of the Live Messenger client.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it would retire its Live Messenger client on March 15, forcing users to move to Skype for their IM needs. Since buying Skype in 2011, Microsoft has continually tweaked the VoIP service, which now supports Microsoft account logins and integrates with Outlook.

But the Messenger service that supports Live Messenger isn't going away, at least not anytime soon, according to blog site ArsTechnica.

Messenger uses two network protocols that allow third parties applications to tap into its service. One is a proprietary Microsoft protocol named MSP, the other an open protocol called XMPP, which the company added in December of 2011.

Microsoft confirmed to CNET that it will keep XMPP support alive until October of this year, while its own MSP protocol will continue to work until March 2014.

With the longer lease on life, applications that rely on Messenger will still function normally and have most of this year to switch to a different service. This includes not only third-party software but Microsoft's own Windows Phone and Xbox devices, both of which use the Messenger service.