Microsoft Inching Closer to Phase-out Messenger, Rolls Out Skype for Windows 8 Update

Skype for Windows 8 include the ability to block contacts, as well as other improvements. On April 8, Microsoft to begin moving tens of millions of WLM users to Skype IM.

Microsoft has delivered an updated version of Skype for Windows 8, that give users higher control over who can contact them by adding the ability to block contacts, as well as other performance improvements, video, calling, plus instant-messaging fixes.

Additional enhancements include improved loading speed and reliability across the application. As a result, contacts load speed should now be a lot faster.

Skype for Windows 8: ability to block content plus more

In other related new, Microsoft is all set to begin moving the users of Windows Live Messenger from April 8 to its consumer oriented instant-messaging service "Skype."

Microsoft will begin its worldwide phase-out, starting with English-speaking countries, and ending with Portuguese. The entire "retirement" should be completed by April 30 or so, officials have said.

Skype officials are not providing a timetable as to when Microsoft plans to retire Messenger on mobile, Windows 8, Windows RT and/or multivendor platforms.

But, Microsoft have already said that those accessing WLM via third-party IM service such as--Trillian, Digsby, Pidgin or IM++ -- will get somewhat longer reprieve from being shut off. As each service has its own timetable for the shut-down.

In order to help those moving from Messenger to Skype, the team has posted a how-to guidance as well as a guide to help on merging Messenger and Skype accounts.

Here are some Q&A's courtesy of a Skype spokesperson (via):

Q: Some Messenger users are concerned about an age restriction affecting some attempting to merge their Skype-Messenger contacts. Supposedly, users must be 18 to do this. But many kids use Messenger. What's the advice here?

Skype: We apologize for any difficulty experienced. We are pleased to tell you that children with a valid Microsoft account can now use Skype by logging in with their Microsoft account. The process will follow the parental controls you have already established for the child's Microsoft account. This means children (with the appropriate parental consent for their country) can now choose to use Skype by signing in with a Microsoft Account (MSA). In the US or Korea, parental consent (per standard MSA flow, meaning if it already is authorized, it already works) is required.

Q: Does Skype have the same Remote Assistance capability as Messenger?

Skype: On Skype, users can share screens and walk through assistance via voice or text. This is slightly different from the Remote Assistance functionality on Messenger.

Q: Will Skype be supported by MSN Premium, specifically within the browser that comes with the service?

Skype: MSN Premium customers who have the Windows desktop client of Windows Live Messenger will be upgraded to Skype as part of the process that starts on April 8. We will have more information regarding Messenger experiences on other platforms at a later time.