Microsoft plans to close its Windows Live Messenger (MSN) service in Chinese mainland by October 31, amid a crackdown by authorities against the world's largest software firm over anti-monopoly violations.
China launched the anti-monopoly probe against Microsoft alleging that the company may have broken laws regarding compatibility and documentation authentication for its Windows OS and MS Office.
Amid the investigations, reports said India-born Satya Nadella, who took over as Microsoft CEO in February, is set to visit China in late September apparently in a bid to resolve disputes with Chinese authorities helming the probe.
Skype, the real-time Internet communication service provided by Microsoft, has emailed Chinese MSN users about the closing down of the MSN service, suggesting they move to the VoIP (Voice-over-internet Protocol) service.
Except for the Chinese mainland, Microsoft pulled the plug on the MSN service globally on April 8, 2013.
But users here have been experiencing difficulties with the service, state-run China News Service reported today citing the Beijing Morning Post.
MSN once attracted over 20 million users in China. The number has dropped sharply due to the rapid development of mobile communication technology and challenges from domestic rivals such as QQ, WeChat and Sina Weibo.
The Windows 8 system, another service provided by Microsoft, is also struggling in the Chinese market.
Analysts said the operating system's underperformance is the main reason.
Microsoft, whose pirated versions are popular in China, is currently going through churning as China has already banned Microsoft's Window 8 on all government computers following revelations by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about cyber espionage in China.
The Chinese government was upset about Microsoft's move to stop providing security updates for Windows XP, which was widely used in China.
This prompted Chinese firms to make alternative arrangements. The company is accused of not being very transparent.