While titled "Talk to your Messenger Contacts on Skype" this blog post by Tony Bates (President, Skype division, Microsoft) is more than interoperability – Messenger is being retired in 1Q2013:
We’ve got good news to share! Skype and Messenger are coming together. 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.
This effort started with the release of Skype 6.0 for Mac and Windows a few weeks ago, which allows you to sign into Skype using a Microsoft account. Now Messenger users just need to update to the latest version of Skype, sign in using a Microsoft account, and their Messenger contacts will be there.
Our goal remains to deliver the best communications experience for everyone, everywhere. We want to focus our efforts on making things simpler for our users while continuously improving the overall experience. We will retire Messenger in all countries worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 (with the exception of mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available).
One of the perils of a large company is too many overlapping products so this seems like a wise move since Skype is bigger and has the momentum while Messenger is declining, but getting 100 million plus Messenger users to convert should be exciting.
Microsoft announced today that they are ditching Windows Live Spaces, their entry in the social blogging arena, and have arranged to migrate the current Live Spaces blogs to WordPress.com.
Upgrading a Windows Live Spaces blog to WordPress.com
There are 30 million people who are actively using Windows Live Spaces and have been eagerly awaiting the next set of new blogging features. For these customers, Windows Live and WordPress.com have worked together to build a simple way to move your blog posts, comments, and integrated photos right over to WordPress.com and start taking advantage of all their new features. And we’ll also redirect all your old Spaces URLs to your new blog, so you don’t lose any visitors along the way.
Windows Live Spaces users have 6 months to make the switch. Users of Microsoft’s very capable Windows Live Writer blogging client (which supports many blog types besides Live Spaces including WordPress) don’t have to worry (yet) because Microsoft says there is no plan to phase it out and it will remain part of the Windows Live family, but one can’t help but wonder which other of the multitudinous remaining family members will be shown the door.
Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Robbie Bach delivered the keynote last night at the 2010 Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas and it was the usual mixture of self-congratulatory boosterism and product and technology demos. Here is my list of highlights:
After a report on how well Windows 7 is selling, there were the PC demos including a prototype Hewlett-Packard slate PC that the technical press was pining for.
It looks like a touch enabled netbook to me and while it may have a niche, I suspect I would be screaming for a keyboard (or at least a stylus) in under a minute of usage. Perhaps more interesting were the ultrathin Lenovo A300 laptop with a 21.5" screen and the Sony VAIO home entertainment notebook with a 24" screen. How big does a laptop have to get before it becomes a single element desktop?
HP is making Bing the default Web search engine and MSN the default home page on all their PCs in 42 countries.
Ballmer put the usual lipstick on this pig and Robbie Bach appeared later to flog upcoming games (including another lucrative Halo version) and tout Project Natal, the motion sensing technology that will appear later this year to replace the standard controllers for some games.
Bach also announced Mediaroom 2.0, the latest version of Microsoft’s IPTV offering for service providers which now supports PCs and smartphoes as well as set top boxes and Xbox consoles for TV viewing.
Microsoft really did not have much of its own to show again this year. I am almost beginning to miss the goofy Bill Gates future technology skits.
After a variety of online rumors that June 2010 would be the ship date for Office 2010, a Microsoft spokesman has confirmed the date to Betanews. Less clear however, was what Office features will be included in the free Web version, Office Web Applications:
"The key to what will and what won’t be in the Web Apps is really based on customer feedback and usage scenarios," "Microsoft communications senior director Janice] Kapner told us. "So if you think about it, we have 500 million users, we talk to them a lot about what it is they do and don’t do, and will and won’t do. This is our first shipment of the Web Apps, but we’ve been very realistic about how we think people will use these things, and try to supply features and functionality that will support those usage scenarios." As an example, Kapner cited a case of remote users being able to check the progress of a PowerPoint presentation being constructed by the team at home, via a Web browser on a PC or mobile phone.
That continues to suggest that Office Web Apps, while free for use by the general public, will not be intended for creative purposes above and beyond basic, simple documents. In fact, Microsoft now appears to be busy constructing legitimate use-case scenarios for preferring Office 2010 over Office Web Apps.
Or rephrased, Microsoft is busy trying to figure out how much they can reasonably cripple the Office Web Applications so as not to roast their Office cash cow. Do not confuse the free version with the business versions of Office Web Applications that are not free and require a SharePoint server on the backend.