Last year, an executive at a software company spent several billion dollars on a loss making internet chat service. Rather than been a worthwhile investment, it gave out a lot of bad publicity and implementation headaches. Now his job is on the line, the executive is attempting to show his purchase was essential by replacing the company's existing successful chat service with it.
My advice to is avoid using Skype though. There is NO support for it in any alternate messaging clients (IM+, Adium, MirandaIM etc) and its an absolute resource hog. I'd rather not have my Macbook Air's battery cut from 5hr to 2hr, so if you can, avoid using Skype. If enough people use an alternative like Googletalk (Moogletalk?) there is a small chance like Windows XP they will extend the life cycle of MSN.
Honestly though the best possible outcome is if Steve Ballmer gets fired within the next 8 weeks, and they might reverse the decision. In fact, removing Ballmer from his job and getting a younger executive instead might be the revival Microsoft needs. Remember how Apple was turned around from near-bankruptcy to the world's richest company over time by getting back Steve Jobs and eliminating most the old executives back in 1997.
Anyway, here are my alternate contact details if you all want to continue to chat after the shutdown on the 15th March 2013.
Yahoo: neosilvergun2150 Moogletalk: firstname.lastname@example.org iMessage: Friends only, so ask via PM please.