China is a swell country. Some stringent rules and regulations, which are not necessarily bad, mean that foreign companies have to partner up with local firms to do business there.
As a result, Microsoft has several such partner companies for many of its services.
One such service is MSN and its communication platform, MSN Messenger. That is the classic name of this program. In recent times it was known as Windows Live Messenger, before it was retired last year, and Redmond moved all its users to Skype.
All, as in users outside China.
One and a half years since the service was shut down for the rest of the world, Microsoft is ready to shut it down in the country. MSN and Windows Live Messenger were discontinue in April 2013, by the way.
Now the company has started sending emails to all MSN Messenger users in order to notify them of this upcoming change. Microsoft is recommending everyone to switch to Skype, and is also offering a Skype coupon with $2 credit that can be used to make international calls from within the app.
According to the report, Microsoft offered MSN to Chinese users through a partnership with a local technology company called TOM Group.
That deal has come to an end, and the software titan has decided not to review it.
October 31 is the day, then, more or less two months from now. It will be interesting to see whether Chinese users move to Skype or if they prefer local alternatives — MSN Messenger is still very popular in the country, factually speaking.