You might think that archaic chat program MSN Messenger was dead and buried. In 2013, Microsoft announced the service would be retired and gradually integrated into Skype. But the program has remained available in China ever since. Now,ZDnet reports that MSN Messenger will finally close for goodafter its Chinese version is also set to shut down.
At its peak, MSN Messenger had 330 million users worldwide. For scale, that’s about three times greater than the current number of Snapchat users and about three quarters of the number of all current Gmail users.
For a time, MSN Messenger was the instant message platform of choice and its death will prompt a quiet wave of tech nostalgia. Before the mobile phone, Messenger was texting. Many a friendship and romance blossomed and died via Messenger’s odd blue/green colour scheme.
MSN Messenger remained active in China thanks to a troubled partnership with Chinese media company TOM group. The partnership had been heavily criticised for developing modified versions of Microsoft software to comply with Chinese internet regulations. Microsoft’s joint venture in China came to an end last year, after a dispute between Skype and a TOM Group spokesman over the number of new users acquired by Skype in China during its nine-year history in the country.
Now that MSN Messenger will officially close on Oct. 31, Microsoft is offering all Chinese users of the service a $US2 Skype coupon to ease the transition.
MSN Messenger and Skype have seen increased competition in China following the rise of rival messaging platform QQ. Gigaom reports that the Tencent-owned company has over 200 million users.
Here is what it looked like in its classic format:
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