Microsoft Replacing Messenger with Skype

Only six months ago we wrote an article about Microsoft replacing Hotmail with; now Microsoft have announced Windows Live Messenger (previously MSN Messenger) is to be replaced by Skype, which Microsoft bought in 2011. Messenger is being replaced globally, with the exception of mainland China.

Currently, Messenger users can continue to use Messenger, upgrade to Skype or merge their Messenger account with their Skype account. After 15th March 2013 [edit] 8th April 2013 all Messenger users will have to upgrade to Skype in order to continue using the services, but don’t worry – the process is fairly simple and we will run through the options (with pictures) below.

Firstly you need to make sure you have Skype installed, available here. If you already have Skype installed, make sure you have the latest version by going to ‘Help’ then ‘Check for Updates’. Next, open Skype; if it automatically logs you in then log out (‘Skype’ then ‘Sign Out’). You should now see a login screen like the one below:

Skype Login Screen

You need to select ‘Microsoft Account’ from the right hand side, which is the account you use for Messenger. After logging into your Microsoft Account you will be given two options.

Skype options to merge or upgrade Microsoft account

If you do not already have a Skype account simply click the ‘I’m new to Skype’ button to convert your Messenger account into a Skype account. If you already have a Skype account then you have two options available to you. The option on the left, labelled ‘I have a Skype account’ will merge your existing Skype account with your existing Messenger account. The alternative is to convert your Messenger account into a separate Skype account by clicking the ‘I’m new to Skype’ button. Having separate accounts will mean you can choose which account to log into, but not both at the same time on a single computer or other device. This could be particularly important to some users as Skype lacks options for displaying different online statuses to different users or groups of users, despite being a popular feature request for many years. In fact, the only option available is to block contacts to whom you wish to appear offline.

After you have either merged or upgraded your Microsoft Messenger account you will be able to use Skype to communicate with all your contacts, regardless of whether they are still on Messenger or have upgraded to Skype.

Microsoft really appear to be rebranding everything they have to offer. The 2D panel design used on the new Windows 8 start menu (originally branded ‘Metro’) has gradually been applied across the board: computers, smartphones, tablets, games consoles, software, websites and even the Windows logo itself. On top of this Microsoft have been clearing out old offerings, with very well-known services, such as Hotmail and Messenger, being retired. For many, myself included, Hotmail and MSN Messenger were a staple part of early online social networking and it feels like an end of an era to see them go.

Microsoft Teases New Xbox Announcement

For those that consider themselves gamers, the launch of a new generation of console is the biggest news of the year. It’s been seven years since the launch of the Xbox 360, and now the games industry is rife with speculation that it’s time for the next generation of consoles to emerge – and the next console war to begin. Microsoft have now upped the ante, with Xbox Live’s Major Nelson (the Director of Programming for Xbox Live) adding a countdown to his blog that coincides with the 2013 E3 event, the biggest event for the gaming industry, with the words “And it’s on…”. Whilst he may just be unable to contain his excitement for E3, the internet has exploded with numerous theories – most prominently, that Major Nelson is teasing the announcement of a new Xbox console at E3, with a release date possibly for Christmas 2013. This would particularly fit in with the current Windows rebranding, namely the new Windows 8, Windows phones and Microsoft Surface tablets launched in 2012.

One of the major puzzlements is the name of the new console. Whilst popularly referred to as the Xbox 720, the development codename for the new console has been leaked as being the Microsoft Durango. However, in July 2012 Tech Radar announced that Microsoft had bought several new domain names, including and Not only does this fit in with the new Windows 8 branding, but eagle-eyed gamers have pointed out that an 8 on its side produces the infinity symbol, leading to theories that the new console may be called the Xbox Infinity. As for the specification of the new consoles, the jury is out. Educated guesses, along with a little pure speculation, has the most likely specification as a quad-core Intel processor, Nvidia graphics chipset and possibly 4GB or 8GB of memory. A new and improved Kinect is also likely to be announced at the same time. This specification would allow much improved graphics and significant gaming power – something that was demoed by games such as Watch Dogs and Star Wars 1313 at the E3 2012 event. Both games appeared to need console power far above the current contenders, again fuelling speculation that a new generation of consoles were just around the corner.

So if Microsoft is preparing to launch a new console, where does this leave Sony? In their quest for higher performance and specification than the Xbox 360, Sony released their PS3 too late for the market and have struggled for market share against the more popular Xbox 360 and Wii systems. In trying to remain competitive, Sony had to sell their PS3s at a significant loss for two years before technological advances allowed them to cut production costs. Sony’s priority will now be to not let Microsoft get the same head start again; rumours have a new Sony console also under development, codenamed the Orbis. This is rumoured to have AMD CPU and GPU (possibly a dual GPU set-up) with 8GB of memory and a 256GB hard drive – again, emphasising graphical and processing power rather than trying to gain the casual gamer with novelty items such as the PlayStation Move.

In the end, it’s all down to a waiting game for the keen gamer – but with titles such as Grand Theft Auto V and Bioshock Infinite promising to push the current generation of consoles to their limits, gamers shouldn’t find the wait too punishing just yet.