Skype is Replacing Messenger for Instant Messaging and Presence


Have you seen the good news? Skype and Messenger are coming together. Soon millions of Messenger users will be able to reach their Messenger friends on Skype. By updating to Skype, Messenger users can instant message and video call their Messenger friends plus a whole lot more. Skype will become the preferred choice for all of our users’ communication needs. We will retire Messenger in all countries worldwide in the first quarter of 2013, with the exception of mainland China.  Learn more about this exciting change.

So, what does this mean for Microsoft Live@edu institutions? There are multiple ways Live@edu users leverage Windows Live Messenger today:

  • Messenger client
  • Outlook Web App chat feature
  • Custom applications using Messenger API’s

Messenger Client

The Messenger client will be retired in the first quarter of 2013. As the Skype blog post indicates, users can download the latest version of Skype now and begin taking advantage of the great features. When Windows Live Messenger is retired, users will be prompted to install Skype on their desktop.

Note: Schools that want a centralized IT deployment of Skype to desktops can download the image and use System Center Configuration Manager to remotely manage desktops.

There are a few differences between Messenger and Skype client features and capabilities. These include:

  • Groups created in Messenger will need to be recreated in Skype
  • File sharing capability does not work across Messenger and Skype sessions
  • New buddies created in Skype will not show up in Messenger or OWA

Outlook Web App Chat

Windows Live@edu allows users to access email in a browser, using Outlook Web App (OWA). The contact list in OWA allows user to chat with friends and colleagues connected to Messenger.

Following the update to Skype, contacts will continue to be accessible via the contact list in OWA, just as they are today. The only difference being new buddies created in Skype will not show up in the OWA contact list.

Note: Administrators can disable the chat feature in Outlook Web App by applying a policy to some or all mailboxes.

Custom applications using Messenger API’s

Today, third party applications leverage the Messenger API’s to do custom integration of Messenger into line of business applications and services. Following the update to Skype, these custom applications will have a limited life. Schools using third party applications integrated with Messenger will want to look for alternative solutions to meet their academic needs.

Live@edu upgrade to Office 365

While this Skype news is exciting for current Messenger users, it is equally exciting to remind Live@edu institutions of the pending upgrade of Live@edu to Office 365. Office 365 for education extends your Live@edu investment providing free email, instant messaging, group video and voice chat, and online document viewing and editing.  Upgrade to Office 365 today!