Small possibility of Messenger shutdown this weekend (UPDATE: didn’t happen)
UPDATE (June 4, 2014): Messenger (MSNP) is still available. It seems whatever MSP truly is, it didn’t affect Messenger or never was shut down in the first place.
The March date
The date in March was originally based from a reference on the Windows Live Developers site (no longer available, old archive.org version) which stated that “implementations that use MSP (Mobile Service Proxy) will continue to work until March 2014”. After this date passed, the page was changed to show May 31st as the date.
So it’s May 31st?
The confusion with this statement lies in the claim that the Mobile Service Proxy will be the component that no longer works after May 31st. At the time this information was presented, the various media outlets automatically assumed this is what Messenger uses, but Messenger uses MSNP (Mobile Service Notification Protocol), not MSP.
What is MSP/Mobile Service Proxy anyway?
I really do not know. Despite a decade of technical work on Messenger, I had never heard of the Mobile Service Proxy or MSP mentioned until it showed up on that page. My guess is that it could be part of the Messenger web API I’m not familiar with, Messenger connectivity on mobile networks (via SMS), or it could be that the protocol got renamed and no one bothered to inform anyone. Since this term first appeared, I’ve searched periodically for more information and the only reference I ever found was someone else asking the same question on the Windows Live dev forums. The only answer given was, “MSNP in general is not supported by Microsoft for non-Microsoft applications.“
What about April?
There was some discussion that since Windows Messenger was part of Windows XP that the XP end-of-support date of April 8th would be the day the servers were taken down. This of course did not happen and the Messaging app in Windows 8.0 (not 8.1) contains the standard Messenger implementation using MSNP. Windows 8.0 is supported until January 12, 2016.
Will it shut down?
We’ve recently seen features like e-mail notifications and offline messaging disappear from Messenger, as well as changes to Outlook.com messaging, and the rare message originally directed to Skype pop-up on Messenger randomly. Clearly changes are being made but how they will affect the older Messenger clients long-term is not known.
One great thing about the March and May dates was that they gave a definitive time we knew the Messenger service would be operating. Past this weekend we will be entering more uncertainty.
I’ve set up a new Messenger Status page to reflect the current condition of Messenger service and its features so everyone can check what is and what isn’t working.