Talking tech since 2003

Last year, Microsoft announced that they would be shutting MSN Messenger down and switching users over to Skype for their communication needs. But the chat/general communication service remained alive in China through a local third-party company. It was a stronghold, the last bastion of MSN, the only place where a decade-and-a-half old service could continue its wizened reign. But this too must end. On December 31st, the service is shutting down in China, and thus in the world at large. Users were informed of this change through email and were given a $2 Skype coupon to encourage continued usage of Microsoft software.

Now, is this truly an important development in the tech world? Most certainly not. But it IS a time for some reflection. MSN Messenger started up in 1999 as a way to combat AOL’s AIM chat service, which resulted in a struggle for dominance that, clearly, neither of them won. As technology charged ever onward, both services were left far, far behind. Now, they stand as relics of a different time––one might call it simpler. When I think of AIM or MSN, I picture the dusty sarcophagi in Indiana Jones (I’m not lying).

Which makes you think, where will the services that we know and love today be in 15 years? It’s kind of funny to think about, but MSN and AIM were once the hottest thing around. Will Facebook and Twitter and Instagram defy history and stand the test of time? They’re certainly more adaptable, established, and influential services than MSN and AIM ever were. But who knows what will spring forth from the wellspring of human innovation? The tech world 15 years from now will likely be very different from ours today, or maybe it won’t! Isn’t that what’s just so tasty about time? You never know how things are going to end up.

As I wrap up this article, I find myself feeling the need for a little poetry. And so I leave you with the words of Percy Bysshe Shelley which, I think, appropriately commemorate this event.

And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Rate this article on a scale of 1-Deep in the comments, please. (The correct answer is “deep”.)

[theverge & neowin]


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