As many of you have heard by now, Microsoft is shutting down Windows Live Messenger and directing users to Skype. There are two important concepts at play here – the Messenger clients and the Messenger servers. When we talk about the Messenger client, we’re referring to the official Microsoft Windows Live Messenger software, not Trillian. We wanted to take a minute and list all of the things we know so far in order to give Trillian customers as much time as possible to decide how best to proceed.
1. Effective early this year, Microsoft will be disabling their own Messenger client software. This means if you or your friends use the Messenger client, you won’t be able to sign in. As far as we know, this will have no impact on Trillian or other third-party IM solutions as the change is software-specific.
2. Some time next year, Microsoft will begin to disable their Messenger servers. This move will impact every client, including Trillian and any other third-party IM software that you and your friends may be using. At this point, the Messenger service as you know it will cease to exist – you will not be able to sign in.
3. As a result, Microsoft is currently asking its customers to merge their Messenger and Skype accounts and install the latest version of the Skype software. Unfortunately, the Skype-sanctioned method that we use to communicate with Skype relies on an SDK known as “SkypeKit”, which as of this writing does not work with migrated accounts. This means that if you listen to Microsoft and merge your Skype and Messenger accounts, you will be bricking your copy of Trillian in terms of Skype access. We are hopeful that Skype will be issuing a new update to their SkypeKit SDK that works with migrated accounts but have no insight into if and/or when this will occur. In the meantime, consider hanging tight on the migration if you want to continue using Skype through Trillian. One point of later clarification: until Microsoft starts rejecting Skype logins from your original Skype usernames, you can still use Skype through Trillian with your Skype usernames. It won’t be until a Windows Account is required that Trillian in its current form will have trouble signing in, and hopefully the SDK will be updated by then.
To minimize possible service outages, we recommend that any of you using Trillian to talk to other Trillian users start taking steps to migrate over to the Trillian IM network (referred to as “Astra” in some places) or another Trillian-supported IM network as soon as possible. Your Trillian username can be shared with other Trillian users so that they can add you and start chatting right away. Like Messenger, the Trillian network supports buzzes, drawing, voice and video chats, file transfers, and strong privacy controls. Unlike Messenger, the Trillian network also uses SSL by default to encrypt your conversations over-the-wire, supports persistent group chats, and is more reliable in terms of online and offline message delivery. If you’re currently relying on Messenger at your business, be sure to also evaluate our business-centric offerings to see if they will work for your company. We’ll keep everyone posted as we learn more about Messenger and Skype; thanks for supporting Trillian!