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After 13 long years of service Microsoft’s chat client Windows Live Messenger will be retired early in 2013 in all countries except China. This was officially confirmed yesterday by Tony Bates, president of the Skype division at Microsoft.

Windows Live Messenger users can update the program to Skype 6.0

Microsoft purchased Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011 which is the biggest purchase in the company’s history to date. It seemed logical that Microsoft would integrate their old chat platform with Skype at some point.

Windows Live Messenger was launched back in 1999 under the name MSN Messenger, in the days when ICQ and AIM were the best chat clients on the market.

Now the times have changed and the advanced technology requires the new approach. Skype 6 includes support for iPad and Android tablets, video calling on mobile phones, group video calling, video calling with Facebook friends and more.

To make the transition from Windows Live Messenger to Skype as painless as possible for the Windows Live users (way more people used Windows Live and Skype before the merging) Microsoft has made it possible to log on to Skype with Windows Live ID. All contacts and message history remain intact on Skype.

“Now Messenger users just need to update to the latest version of Skype, sign in using a Microsoft account, and their Messenger contacts will be there,” says Tony Bates. “To help you learn how to get the most out of Skype, be on the lookout for some special offers later this year as you join your Messenger friends in the migration.”

“Our goal remains to deliver the best communications experience for everyone, everywhere,” Bates added, president of the Skype division at Microsoft. “We want to focus our efforts on making things simpler for our users while continuously improving the overall experience. We will work with you over the next few months to help you transition and offer information and help along the way.”

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