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Microsoft Shutting Down Messenger on March 15: Users Moving to Skype

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First Posted: Jan 09, 2013 11:18 AM EST

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

If you're one of the 100 million+ people using Windows Live Messenger, it's time to start saying goodbye. Microsoft began informing Messenger users via email Tuesday that it will be shutting down the communication service on March 15, 2013. Once Messenger is taken down, all of its users will be permanently moved over to Skype, which you may remember was purchased by Microsoft for $8.5 billion back in May 2011.

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The only exception to the shutdown is mainland China, where Messenger is managed by a local company instead of Microsoft and will continue to run for the foreseeable future.

The email sent by Microsoft was titled "Important info about your messenger account," and read in part:

"On 15th 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. 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 Redmond-based company originally announced plans to merge Messenger with Skype back in November, when it started promoting the fact that users' Messenger contacts could be reached via Skype. It also stated in its blog post that beginning in the first quarter of 2013, Messenger services would be retired permanently.

Until March 15, Messenger will continue to function normally. Users still trying to sign in afterwards will then receive a notification prompting them to install Skype. Should they continue, Microsoft's installer will then download Skype and remove Messenger from the computer.

Microsoft also encouraged users to download the Skype app on their mobile phones, since the service allows phones to call landlines, mobile phones, and hold video calls with other members.

The email read:

"Can I update to Skype on my mobile?
Yes! Skype is available on iPhone, Android and soon on Windows Phone 8. We encourage you to download the latest Skype app on your mobile and then uninstall Messenger. You will be able to sign in to Skype on your iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 8 mobile apps with your Microsoft Account over the next few weeks. If you use another phone with Messenger on it, it will continue to work for a while."

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