Windows Live Messenger To Be Retired In Favour of Skype

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Users are invited to merge accounts with Skype before shutdown in Q1 2013

Microsoft has confirmed that it will be shutting down Windows Live Messenger next year as the company focuses its attentions on Skype.

Support for the instant messaging client will end in all countries except for China in the first quarter of 2013, but users will be able to access their contacts in Skype. From version 6.0 of the VoIP client, it is possible to log in using a Microsoft account, while users of both services will be able to merge their accounts together.

Microsoft, which acquired Skype in a £5.4 billion takeover last year, says that Skype provides better support for all platforms, improved instant messaging, landline and video calling as well as the ability to call Facebook friends.

RIP Windows Live Messenger

Skype for Windows 8 - image from Neowin“We’ve got good news to share! Skype and Messenger are coming together,” said Skype in a blog post. “Millions of Messenger users will be able to reach their Messenger friends on Skype. By updating to Skype, Messenger users can instant message and video call their Messenger friends.”

“We will work with you over the next few months to help you transition and offer information and help along the way,” it added. “We think you will enjoy using Skype, and encourage you to download the latest version, sign in with your Microsoft account, and experience it for yourself.”

Windows Live Messenger was first released in 1999 as MSN Messenger, more commonly referred to as ‘MSN’, which in recent years has added video and voice calling to its instant messaging service. However Microsoft has been pushing its expensive acquisition heavily in the past few months.

A new version for Windows 8 has been released, while Microsoft has been heavily integrating the service into Windows Phone 8.

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