Microsoft has shuttered one of its oldest and most popular instant messaging software products.
Microsoft started to phase out MSN Messenger globally in April 2013 and it will only available in mainland China until then. The reason is that Microsoft owns Skype now and there is really no need for messenger.
As an incentive to join Skype, Microsoft is offering a free $2 credit to users that make the switch.
Microsoft launched MSN Messenger in 1999 as a competitor to AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and ICQ. While MSN Messenger supported access to AIM, but America Online tried continuously to block Microsoft.
In 2005, Microsoft rebranded MSN Messenger to Windows Live Messenger and it ended up with 330 million active users each month.
MSN Messenger was maintained in China through a partnership with Chinese media company TOM Group. However, that ended last year due to a row between TOM Group and Skype over the new users acquired by Skype.
Microsoft is operating Skype in China with a company called Guangming Founder. Skype has been modified to support Internet regulations.