When is Messenger really shutting down?

Messenger Shutting Down?In the past few weeks you most likely read the headlines in the popular press, “MSN Messenger to end after 15 years”, “MSN Messenger Turned Off Forever!”, “Microsoft Is Officially Killing MSN Messenger Once and For All”, and similar captions of the same premise. Reading through these articles, you’ll find that Microsoft has sent out messages to the current Chinese users of Messenger, informing them that after October 31st they will need to use Skype to sign in, plus a bonus $2 Skype coupon for their trouble. The writers then jump to the conclusion that there will be no Messenger after that time, as it seems none of them have noticed that you can still use Messenger and that they’ve just been using Messenger in Skype.

With no other evidence to the contrary, Microsoft is most likely doing the same in China as it did for the rest of the world, force-upgrading its users to use Skype as their Messenger client instead of Windows Live Messenger.

Here are some facts about the situation:

  1. Messenger contacts (as of yet) did not transfer to Skype contacts. When you link your Skype username to a Microsoft account, Skype (or also Outlook.com) will sign you into both Skype and Messenger services. Despite the accounts being linked up, you can still sign into your Skype username separately or sign into your Messenger account separately using another Messenger client.
  2. Recently Microsoft started blocking users from signing into older versions of Skype. This seems to be primarily to push people into using the newer versions of Skype which support MSNP24 (Microsoft Notification Protocol version 24). To compare, Windows Live Messenger 2011/2012 uses MSNP21, so they are in fact transitioing from Skype’s native protocol to the Messenger protocol for all Skype communication. You can view the MSNP server and protocol information in Skype by opening up any Skype window and typing /dumpmsnp.
  3. The Messaging app included in Windows 8.0 (removed in 8.1) signs into the .NET Messenger service.  As Windows 8.0 will remain supported until January 12, 2016, this client within 8.0 should continue to work within this supported time frame. This version of Messenger uses MSNP22.
  4. Although unsupported officially, third-party clients, Windows Messenger 4.7 above and “revived” clients still continue to work nearly a year and a half after the official shutdown date. These clients do not connect to Chinese servers or pretend to be in China.
  5. The dates of these forced-upgrades have been incorrect so far. Initially Messenger was to “shut down” on March 15th, 2013, and then was moved to April 8th. However, the forced compulsory Skype didn’t truly begin on the servers until April 23rd.  Then more recently was the issue of “MSP” (not MSNP) first declared to be discontinued first in March of this year, then May, and then the reference was removed from the Microsoft website all together.

The answer
I have no idea when non-Skype Messenger clients will no longer be able to sign in.

Regardless of the facts above, Microsoft could still prevent non-Skype Messenger clients (and their subsequent versions of the protocol) from signing in at any time. I would personally implore them not to do so, as they only face to alienate more users to other services, particularly with their dwindling usage and increased competition. Additionally, once their move to the MSNP24 protocol on Skype is fully complete, they could open and encourage third-parties to write for that new protocol.

Final note

After reading through the most recent Messenger headlines, I think it’s worth a reminder that MSN Messenger was replaced by Windows Live Messenger in 2006. Everyone knows that Messenger is colloquially known as “MSN”, which can correctly refer to the protocol (MSNP) being used, but in reality the actual versions of software called MSN Messenger were discontinued and replaced in the years following the name change, particularly as older versions of the protocol were retired and security issues were found.

Windows Live Messenger 2009 signed in on September 11th, 2014

Windows Live Messenger 2009 signed in on September 11th, 2014


Posted on September 11, 2014, in Messenger, MSN Messenger, News. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. And ever since they forced us into this skype upgrade everytime i try to install it it crashes my computer. I have unintstlled & reinstalled several times & the same thing always happens. So i don’t use skype at all

    • Greetings Helga. As you’re probably aware, you can could just continue to use Messenger instead using Messenger Reviver. However, there are lots of reasons Skype could be crashing, I can attempt to assist but I can’t guarantee too much as Skype is even more difficult to debug than Messenger.

  2. thx for clearify the situation. 🙂
    it looks like the end is near…. 😦 (screw me microsoft)
    i want MSN Messenger(7 on XP) or nothing!!!

  3. I really hope this continues to work, I hate using Skype for text chatting. There are plenty of other IM clients out there, but nothing will be as functional as this. Though I do like Digsby. Will point out, I’m having an issue where my profile pic is rest to application default every time I close the window.
    So pretty hard to assume the outcome at this moment. Do you have any estimate on what will happen?

    • Greetings Ryan. I prefer Messenger too, but that’s probably not news to anyone 😉 With regards to the display picture problem, do you mean in Messenger or Digsby? Although I haven’t had time to properly debug it, I’ve noticed a number of the third-party clients have lost their ability to retrieve and roam display pictures since Microsoft shut down the backend “social” features of Windows Live. If you mean Messenger, more details about your setup would be helpful as this isn’t a problem anyone has mentioned since Reviver became necessary. A video of the problem in action would be even better too.

      I’m afraid I don’t have any estimate or even a guess for you. To be honest, I would doubt any specific time has been planned yet.

      • Hi Jonathon. I was actually referring to Messenger having profile image issues. This was Live Essentials 2011 on my Vista Ultimate x64 SP2.setup. (lol yeah I still prefer Vista) What I ended up doing is downgrading back to 2009. Liked it better honestly, UI was smoother and it consumed less RAM. I just cannot add social networks which is a drag, but FB is buggy with it anyways. I’ve turned to Digsby for managing any other networks other than Live. 2009 is actually very broken aside from basic messaging. Groups don’t work, and adding additional social networks no longer works. Pretty sad. Think it’s possible these issues could be worked around somehow?
        Yes in the end we must expect this to come to an end, I just really hope it’s not now. Nothing will ever replace it. A good Messenger visual style for Digsby would be cool though 🙂

  4. studentsaverteams

    i dont know why Microsoft do that …


    its happen on all ? the inbox not show how messages u get ? or get notification of messages that u get ?

  5. I personally hope they do not force the server shutdown, as you said. Despite everything that happened these years, I am still using Windows Live Messenger, and I have recently installed it on my new Windows 8.1 PC too. It still works and I have about 7-8 active friends there; they decided to stay after I convinced them to do so. Expecially I have a couple of close friends that still LOVE WLM features like me, and we always use custom emoticons, image sharing, Youtube embeddment and more. Afterall I’m still using WLM – everyday and all the day – thanks to your reviver, and I want to continue to do so. Not because I don’t want to change, but because it gives me all the features I need to chat and work with my friends. Even if this isn’t the glorious time anymore. There’s no way to force me into Skype; as long as WLM is available (with every possible trick!), I’ll continue to use it. When it won’t be possible to log in anymore, I’ll go to Yahoo Messenger. With sadness of course, because WLM is unreplaceable.

  6. What is the probability Messenger Reviver still working after October 31 ?

  7. Today it’s november 1st and I’m still using wlm.
    I’m disappointed with all this lies about “msn will shutdown on X day”.

    Thanks for your post. It’s different from certain websites and blogs.

  8. Today 2 november MSN doesn’t work. I’ve tried to repair again my installation, but with no successful results. Is this the end? 😥

  9. Today its November 2nd, and suddenly I can’t log into Messenger anymore, even though my internet is working and Skype is on. Could this mean they, Microsoft, finally shut it down perhaps, just like that without any warning? Or is this different? Error code I get is 81000314. Just asking to be sure.

    • Actually never mind. False alarm. Was just a short timed setback. But you never know

      • yes, work me too!!

        • Greetings Andrea and Shane. The 81000314 error code in the past has generally meant that Messenger can’t retrieve your contact list. I was asleep for all this, but I left my machine on and it appears that Messenger didn’t even sign out if you already connected. So, it does just seem to have been an outage. I signed out and back in, checked a few test accounts and they all seem fine now.

          As you may know, North America had a daylight savings correction (in the California timezone, where the servers are) last night around the time both of you (and others in the chat) started to notice the problem. As a possible explanation, it could have been a bug in the server software that was hit from that.

  10. Still perfectly works today! Greetings from Italy.

  11. today, the november 11, still perfectly works. it’s great !

  12. Today, november 30, still working great! Thanks Jonathan for your reviver!

  13. I cannot login to Messenger as of today, could it be that MS finally pulled the plugs on us now?

  14. I am using centerim on Debian shell, worked for years but as of today it’s not connecting anymore 😦

    + 09:16 [msn] connecting to the server
    + 09:20 [msn] disconnected
    + 09:24 [msn] connecting to the server
    + 09:28 [msn] disconnected

    Always connecting to messenger.hotmail.com on port 1863. But not anymore it seems 😦

  15. Never mind, got it working again using a different IP than the messenger.hotmail.com host 🙂

    Thanks to http://ismsndeadyet.com and this blog ofcuz… 😀

  16. i cant conect say error 81000314

  17. Messenger now doesn’t work at all, everytime i use skype all my friends who use msn messenger are not there and what is worse, I cannot add them either as I can only use facebook or skypes directory which doesn’t include msn messenger friends. Everytime I hit search using skypes directory nothing happens, its frecking useless. Why can’t I add ppl using their emails, I give up with Microshit, they can’t program to save their lives!

  18. hi 🙂 i still use msn , add me giulialandipicciani@hotmail.com

  1. Pingback: Most third-party Messenger clients have gone offline (temporarily) | Jonathan Kay, MessengerGeek

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