For MSN Messenger fans, there is a reason to be frightened on Halloween.
According to this blog post, a top-down decision led to MSN Messenger losing out to Outlook for Microsoft instant messaging services. And Skype is still a fierce competitor that is coming out on top. The result is that MSN Messenger will be completely shut down on Halloween day this year, with no indicators of the program returning from the dead.
For Microsoft, this news is not a loss because the company bought Skype. However, some writers are lamenting the loss of an iconic software program. One writer from pagesdigital, Christopher Kevin Au, went so far as to compare the end of MSN Messenger to the death of a beloved friend with the simple description “R.I.P.”
15 years is too short a life for MSN Messenger
If there is one standout trait that writers notice about MSN Messenger, it’s the length of its life. For technology, 15 years is a long time, but the usual scenario consists of a specific technology ending and then reappearing in an updated version of its former self. This is not the case for MSN Messenger.
According to this article from The Verge, MSN Messenger came out in 1999, back when dial-up Internet connections were the norm. Its main competitor was AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), which was AOL’s instant messaging service, but AOL (America Online) soon lost its luster and MSN Messenger was the instant messaging service de rigueur. AOL still has its AIM services, but its fan base is small, according to this article from The New Yorker.
Unlike instant messaging services on Skype, MSN Messenger gave its users the opportunity to present themselves in an edgy way. Because MSN Messenger was mainly an instant messaging service that was aimed for friends to chat with each other, users could be creative with their profile names, putting emoticons and symbols that make the bonds of friendship stronger. MSN Messenger also had silly features for friends to share with each other, especially the gif that made a black and white silly face appear.
MSN Messenger tried to adapt and evolve in changing circumstances, where people were being attracted to new Internet tools, such as social media and virtual calling services. MSN Messenger had a video call option, but it wasn’t enough to save the instant messaging service from Microsoft making the decision to pull the plug.
MSN Messenger has all but disappeared in the world, and its last bastion was in China. But according to a story from the BBC, MSN Messenger will not be terribly missed in China. Unlike the United States, China had a shorter experience with the services, with MSN Messenger only having launched in China in 2005. Also, Chinese users didn’t have to settle for using MSN Messenger, with other instant messaging services available in China. According to The New York Times, WeChat is a very popular chat option for Chinese users, and it has attracted international attention as well. QQ is also being advertised as an international instant messaging service.
Where instant messaging is headed
With instant messaging still being a popular option to communicate with others, the question is how the chat and instant messaging services can evolve. One way to make instant messaging more interesting is to establish new emoticons. Facebook Messenger really attracted a lot of attention with its inclusion of Pusheen the cat emoticons, which comes in at an opportune time because cat videos are an attractive feature of the Internet for many users.
For Skype, the main uses of instant messages occur when Internet connections are spotty and as a nudge for busy users to know that a friend is thinking of them. However, a lot of users are still interested in instant messaging and chats as a whole.