MSN Says Final Goodbye After 15 Years Of Use
Microsoft ended its beloved 15-year-old Windows Live Messenger (MSN) all over the world except the Chinese mainland in April of 2013. MSN came to China in 2005 and became an instant hit especially among college students who had been using China’s tech giant – Tencent’s – instant chat software, QQ.
People chose MSN over QQ because of a number of reasons, the most important one being that QQ accounts could get stolen, infected with malware and used for illegal trading. Moreover, QQ allows chatting with random people whereas MSN was private in that matter, and QQ was prone to an abundance of pop up messages and ads that were really annoying for the users. Furthermore, the graphics (emoticons and font styles) in MSN were finer and more variable, compared to QQ’s drab interface.
However, Microsoft has reportedly sent emails to MSN users in China that the service is going to be suspended on October 31 this year. In addition to that, in order to promote use of Skype in mainland China, every user is being awarded with a complimentary U.S. $2 coupon for international calls.
The high popularity of MSN had eventually fallen as the malware problems seeped into MSN accounts as well, forcing users to withdraw using them altogether. Meanwhile, Tencent had been vigorously fighting off malware and is improving user experience and designs to this day, meaning the users switched back to QQ again along with new users directly joining QQ instead of MSN. According to Technode:
As of the first quarter of 2013 when Microsoft discontinued the Messenger in the rest of the world, QQ had 825 million monthly active users, with the majority were in China, while Messenger only had over 100 million users worldwide.
Interestingly, when Microsoft announced they were terminating MSN services all over the world, Tencent was proud to announce they had reached a milestone where 200 million users had been using QQ concurrently, which is more than the entire population of Brazil.
The current vice president of Tencent, Peter Zheng, was in charge of MSN Spaces (a blog service now closed down) before he left MSN in 2006. He then joined Tencent to build Q-zone, a service competing against MSN Spaces. He left MSN because he felt international Internet companies could not keep up with the changes in China’s Internet market and determine the needs Chinese Internet users.
Q-zone is now one of the major revenue generators for Tencent, by making money through premium virtual item subscriptions and advertising.
It is still unknown how many users MSN has in mainland China. But what is very well-known is that everyone in China is now using WeChat, the instant messaging app developed by Tencent, for mobiles with 438 million monthly active users in all over the world already.