Microsoft set to replace MSN with its Skype service

By Ted Chen, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Starting on March 15, with the exception of China, the Microsoft Network Messenger (MSN) service will be discontinued, with users migrating to Skype.

Locally, Skype will be operated in conjunction with PChome as “Skype Everywhere.” The moves comes on the heels of a Jan. 11 study by in which over 80 percent of online users expressed indifference over the change. Skype, a messaging service launched in 2003, has been overtaking fellow messaging software MSN, which began in 1995 and, at its height, commanded over 300 million users worldwide.

Microsoft purchased Skype, which is available on all major mobile phone platforms, in 2011 for US$8.5 billion.

Skype’s 2012 revenues reached NT$13.423 billion, representing a growth of 8.9 percent year on year. The firm yielded 120 billion billable usage minutes in the third quarter of last year.

Skype is the most widely used communication application on the Android platform, with 100 million downloads. Institutional investors have been anticipating the continued expansion of mobile communications, citing the rapid growth in the field and of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.