If you happen to be around 30 years old, it is very likely that you grew up having to deal with the famous MSN Messenger, an application focused on online chat, which in fact, was not that different from the current Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, etc…
In fact, we can say that MSN Messenger is the ‘father’ who gave rise to all these services! But do you know how a service so popular, which at one point had more than 300 million monthly users died?
No… It wasn’t because of ‘Nudge‘, that warning that made the whole window vibrate to try to get the other person’s attention.
(Special) Do you still remember MSN Messenger? Do you know how it died?
So it was in the late 1990s that we welcomed one of the best and most popular chat services ever… MSN Messenger! We are talking about an application that helped define our teenage years, by making it possible to share “states” (which the vast majority of people used to describe their broken heart), video calls, sending files, gifs, smileys, all these while also bringing an integrated Windows Media Player.
Well, did you know that this Messenger was part of a gigantic war? Interestingly, MSN Messenger is part of a time when Microsoft was ‘cool’, and also very dynamic.
After all, in case you didn’t know, before the launch of Messenger, Microsoft knew it had to go after 2 giants, AOL and Yahoo. The problem is that there were already millions of users using rival platforms. So… How did Microsoft solve this problem? Very simple! The development team took advantage of a bug on rival platforms, to enable its users to use MSN Messenger to talk to all platforms on the market, especially the AOL platform, which responded to this “attack” several times. (An authentic mouse and cat game)
In addition, Microsoft linked the platform to its very popular Hotmail, something very similar to what Google does with Gmail, or WhatsApp does with your mobile phone number.
Forgetting the origin, it is undeniable that MSN Messenger trembled a little in its “childhood”, but it is also true that these were the first steps towards tremendous success! In fact, the world of online conversation today has its roots here.
If you happen to be about my age (29 years old), you know that Messenger was extremely addictive, by offering us the possibility to talk to all our friends, in the same application, over the Internet, without taking the tail off the chair!
Of course, the first version of the application was super basic, with only support for text messages, and a list of contacts. But when Windows XP was launched, the application also evolved well, bringing video calls, emoticons, voice calls, etc… In short, Microsoft put everything that today is fundamental to our lives, in an application for Windows XP, in the 2000s!
Not to mention the possibility of playing some games with friends on your contact list. In fact, in a very curious way, version 7.5 even made it possible to send voice messages with a maximum of 15 seconds. In other words, WhatsApp audios are not as “game-changer” as you might think.
To be aware, in 2003, the platform already had 110 million active users per month.
Anything that rises suddenly runs the risk of a big fall!
In short, MSN Messenger had millions of active users and supported innovative features. However, it was also a real-world of ‘bugs’! In fact, in case you don’t remember, there was a very controversial bug, which erased all contacts from more than 1/3 of all users… Nowadays it is easy to recover contacts, but at that time? Not really.
In addition, it was common to have problems with servers, with MSN long offline, among many other bugs. What is clear, irritated the users, and opened the door to a stampede, once rival services similar, but less prone to problems reached the market.
Then we had the platform’s identity crisis, with MSN Messenger (1999 ~ 2005) changing its name to Windows Live Messenger, with version 8 of the program bringing a fresh face. A change that unfortunately did not convince many users, especially since it also brought new bugs to the table, and several incompatibility problems for older Windows versions. In other words, the platform that was for everyone was suddenly much more limited.
Still, with a new agreement with Yahoo, Windows Live Messenger has resumed its wave of success, betting on parental controls, personalization of chat windows, among other things.
So, after reaching 330 million monthly users in 2009, the platform started to fall. Especially when Facebook started to gain some popularity in the market in 2010.
In fact, Microsoft even tried to put a “Social” page on the platform, trying to get some ideas from Facebook, but since nobody put anything there, it never served any purpose.
In short, MSN Messenger (or Windows Live Messenger) was unable to reinvent itself and ended up “dying” for social networks. After all, Facebook offered everything that the Microsoft application had, but in a better way. In fact, if you don’t remember, even Nudge was part of the Facebook messenger features.
Furthermore, what do you think about all this? Share your opinion with us in the comments below.