Instant messaging pioneer MSN Messenger is finally being switched off after 15 years, as the once popular hangout for teens has been usurped by Skype and mobile chat apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat. Launched in 1999, the Microsoft-owned service provided a free way for people to socialise online long before Facebook, Twitter and [...]

Instant messaging pioneer MSN Messenger is finally being switched off after 15 years, as the once popular hangout for teens has been usurped by Skype and mobile chat apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat.


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Launched in 1999, the Microsoft-owned service provided a free way for people to socialise online long before Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.
The service was Micrsoft’s answer to AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and ICQ.
MSN Messenger supported access to AIM, but America Online tried continuously to block Microsoft.
As MSN Messenger grew in popularity, additional features were created like custom emoticons, games and a nudge feature that shakes the chat window.
In 2005, Microsoft rebranded MSN Messenger to Windows Live Messenger. As of five years ago, Windows Live Messenger had over 330 million active users each month.
With user numbers in the hundreds of millions by the mid-2000s many stopped using MSN after Microsoft bought Skype in 2012 and was phased out.
User numbers were also affected by the rise of more mobile friendly chat apps as users (an teens in particular) new ways to communicate with friends for free.
However it carried on in China until now when it will finally be phased out out October 31 with users no longer being able to use it.
They will receive a $2 credit towards Skype for switching over.