This morning, after signing in to Windows Live Messenger, a popup appeared saying that Skype and Messenger are coming together. In fact, it was not the first time I heard about it, I once read about the possibility of logging in to Skype with Windows Live credentials; so, I gave it a try and it worked. How much it worked? Pros and Cons? That’s what’s this post is all about..
Windows Live Messenger is an instant messaging client created by Microsoft and developed to work on Windows operating systems. The client has been part of Microsoft’s Windows Live set of online services since 2005 and connects to Microsoft Messenger service. The client was first released as MSN Messenger on July 22, 1999, and as Windows Live Messenger on December 13, 2005. Windows Live Messenger has a huge amount of users, – around 330 million active users each month, with around 40 million online at any one moment (Source: Wired) -. Windows Live Messenger also appears in CBS’ Hawaii Five-O American Police Drama as the platform for VoIP communication between the team members.
Skype is a VoIP client developed by Estonian developers and released in 2003. It is based on the peer-to-peer system whereby the parties in a conversation share the job of one being the server and the other the client. **This system has been an headache for security guys as the conversation does not travel through third-party servers unlike other services** Skype offers instant messaging, voice/video calling with conferencing, call to landline/mobile phones through its premium service and file transfer. Skype has around 124 million users each month with 20-30 million online simultaneously (Source: Wired).
On the 11th of May 2011, The Guardian reported that Microsoft has purchased Skype for $8.5bn, purchase considered as the biggest purchase and gamble yet and on November 6, 2012, Microsoft announced that Windows Live Messenger will be retired in favour of Skype worldwide except mainland China. Users using Windows Live Messenger are able to merge their Microsoft account with their Skype account, allowing them to communicate with their Messenger contacts via the Skype clients. Users will have until the first quarter of 2013 to make the transition.
Skype and Windows Live Messenger have many common features but when contrasting between the two, Skype has is with more refined features.
So, how to use Skype instead of Messenger?
First of all, Skype requires you to either download the latest version (http://www.skype.com/intl/en-gb/get-skype/) or to update your existing software.
Next, open Skype. You’ll have a new login screen with two additional/alternative login possibilities; Microsoft account and Facebook.
Clicking on the ‘Microsoft Account’ will bring up a new page where your can enter your Microsoft/Windows live credentials.
After verification of your Microsoft Account and password, the new window will ask you whether or not you have an existing Skype account. If yes, you will be asked for its credentials or you can create one. This process is to merge your Skype account with your Messenger account.
After setting up everything and re-logging in, -and the characteristic Skype login sound 😛 – the Skype window will appear but this time with your Messenger contacts too. Both list will be mixed. But, you can choose to view, either Skype contacts, Messenger contacts or both. As usual, contact lists can be created too and contacts can be added to the Favorites list. At the time of writing (Skype version 18.104.22.168), it was not possible to natively view Skype contacts and Messenger contacts as two distinct lists; but you can do same by creating two different lists and manually moving the contacts.
Logged into Windows Live Messenger (Version 2009) with one account and in Skype with another account. Both accounts are Microsoft accounts. Most tests will be carried from Skype GUI. Tests are in real-time.
- Skype > Started a Video call to other account using the Video Call button. The usual video call window appear and the other end receives a notification.
Accepting the request, prompts for confirmation as the software open an embed Internet page with the credentials. Mine failed as I did not have the latest Microsoft Internet Explorer. – I am among those who use IE only after an OS install to download an antivirus package and another browser 😛 –
- Instant Messaging (Text)
Same as any Skype-Skype / Messenger-Messenger conversation.
Skype – Messenger : As the emoticons are technically text-based, it is automatically converted to its Messenger equivalent.
Messenger – Skype: Same as above
**Skype’s emoticon are more appealing than Messenger ones; Skype’s emoticons are animated with infinite loop too (Y) 🙂 **
- NUDGE Feature is NOT possible !! (N) – NOOOOOO!!!! 😛
- Wink has disappeared !! (N)
- Photo Sharing does not open the usual image sharer as previous Messenger-Messenger conversations.
(Update: Photo Sharing not possible)
- File Transfer is not possible.
- Offline Messages can be sent from both sides and they are received upon signing back in.
Well, the deal is that both users have to use Skype. The above tests are for those users who have not yet switched to skype. Its useless to test when both users are using Skype as everything will be like the usual Skype-Skype conversation. But maybe its different when using Microsoft Accounts 😎 , w’ll test it in Part 2. Keep in touch
References: The Guardian, Wikipedia, Wired