Thursday, November 15, 2012

When the legend becomes history – Skype to globally replace MSN


1999 is a year of advancement to Microsoft. In that year, Microsoft first introduced Windows Live Messenger (MSN) to the global Internet users, and this communication media quickly became a trend that dominated the world for over a decade. However, there is always an end to every story. In the morning of November 6th, 2012, Microsoft announced that Skype would replace MSN in the first quarter of 2013. MSN will retire from the world’s stage.

The cause for the fall of MSN is traceable. Over the last few years, Microsoft shows a lack of attention on users’ satisfaction. Users have been reporting about MSN’s bad user service and problems with log in, junk mails, viruses and scamming. Microsoft shows no endeavor in deriving solutions. Also, there are an increasing number of competitors in the market. The emergence of Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and other innovative medias not only introduce new communication experience, but also undermine MSN’s market share. However, MSN remains traditional. Since 2005, Microsoft had published three new versions of MSN, but there were no significant improvement on these updates. In the end, Microsoft pays the price for its mistake. In 2012, the number of active user plummets to 100 million, returning to the 2003 level, and the figure is even smaller than Skype’s current record of 280 million users.

Microsoft finally realizes the urgency of the problem, and decides to replace MSN by Skype, with the intention to maintain the current users while exploring new groups of applicants. This is only the first step in Microsoft’s plan of revolution. It also decides to replace Hotmail by Outlook, and even consider connecting systems of PCs and tablets like Apple. I agree that by changing the strategy from being traditional to being innovative is a correct approach. Microsoft tries hard to discover another breakthrough.  However, it is still yet too early to decide whether or not these are successful and useful changes. First of all, the transition from MSN to Skype is difficult for many users. Some users might report in lose in contact information and not everyone can adjust to the new system of communication. Some users might even consider turning completely away from Microsoft to other applications. Secondly, instead of being innovative, Microsoft is only following steps of Apple. This makes me question about the capability of Microsoft in developing a new niche.

The story of MSN once again alarms possible entrepreneurs the importance of creativity in the technology market. No monopoly can last forever and groups that fail to adapt to changes will eventually become obsolete.

References:
http://www.shareeveryday.info/archives/1099#more-1099
http://tech.uk.msn.com/apps/windows-live-messenger-replaced-by-skype
http://webtrends.about.com/od/profi3/p/Microsoft-bio.htm
http://tech.qq.com/a/20121107/000025.htm

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