The free internet messenger and calls service Viber has been shut down in Saudi Arabia as it has failed to comply with local regulations. The Communications and Information Technology Commission in the country has also issued a warning it’ll do the same to other applications and services that don’t comply with the regulations.
Quarts reports that Viber. Skype and WhatsApp have received a warning from the Saudi telecommunications regulator back in March. The shutdown could be a result of a failure of Viber to provide the CITC a local server to monitor user activity.
The report suggests that there might be more than regulations at play here. In addition to the Saudi Arabia’s authoritarian regime’s desire to monitor user activity and keep track of social unrest, telecoms are losing revenue as services like Viber, Skype and WhatsApp are becoming users’ choice for placing international calls and texts.
We’ve heard plenty of rumors about Microsoft’s plans for Skype. Finally the company is laying its cards on the table. After working diligently to bridge the gap between Messenger and its VoIP purchase, its aging IM platform will indeed be retired and users migrated to the more video-focused property.
Redmond hopes to complete the move during the first quarter of 2013, after which Messenger will be retired everywhere except in mainland China. Users of both services will be able to merge their accounts and combine their contacts, while those with only a Microsoft account will have to transition to a Skype one.
Though, rest assured, your Messenger buddy list will automatically be transferred. With the imminent death of this MSN descendant, it’s clear that Microsoft is positioning Skype not just as a VoIP client, but as an all-in-one messaging solution meant to take on the likes of Google Talk, with its Voice and Hangouts features.