Microsoft has told users of its ageing Messenger tool that it intends to finally switch off the service on 15 March as it moves users over to Skype.
The firm paid $8.5bn for Skype in 2011 so it was always likely to make the platform its central tool for messaging, including video calls, and in an email to users of the Messenger it confirmed it would soon be switched off.
"On 15 March 2013 we are retiring the existing Messenger service globally (except for mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available) and bringing the great features of Messenger and Skype together," it said in the widely circulated email.
"Update to Skype and sign in using a Microsoft Account (same as your Messenger ID) and all your Messenger contacts will be at your fingertips. You'll be able to instant message and video chat with them just like before, and also discover new ways of staying in touch with Skype on your mobile and tablet."
The firm had already confirmed its intention to discontinue the service last year as it seeks to radically overhaul its collaboration offerings as integrated chat and video tools become common office tools, putting it direct competition with the likes of Cisco.
The announcement comes as Microsoft announced the 6.1 update to Skype that brings integration with Office to allow users to make calls and send messages via Skype from within the firm's email tool.
Discontinuing Windows Live Messenger follows on the heels of Microsoft's rebrand of its browser-based email service Hotmail. The service now goes under the domain name Outlook.com in attempt to streamline it with its Outlook email client
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