Windows Live Messenger to be retired in Taiwan April 8

Taipei, March 3 (CNA) Microsoft Taiwan Corp. has announced that it will close down its Windows Live Messenger instant messaging system April 8 but said users can replace the service with Skype. Messenger will continue to be available in China and Taiwanese users will be able to communicate with its Messenger clients there after the change, it said. The new service, which will import users' contacts from Messenger to Skype, will feature mobile calls from computers, as well as connection with multiple friends on leading social networks such as Facebook. The Skype service is available across the Windows, Mac, iOS, Windows Phone and Android operating systems. According to Ars Technica, a technology blog based in the United States, Messenger online chat, which was launched in July 1999, reached its peak in 2011 with the active users numbering up to 300 million. Its popularity, however, has plummeted, with only around 100 million clients around the world at present. Microsoft bought Skype, which serves 280 million users per month, for US$8.5 billion in 2011, and has been promoting the transition since November last year. The movement not only marks a reshuffle on the instant communications market, in which Messenger has lost its edge to major competitors such as Facebook, Line and WeChat in recent years, but also helps Microsoft prepare the integration of its Windows 8 platform. (By Wu Chia-ying and Maia Huang)