Microsoft will shut down its Messenger service March 15 and migrate 100 million-plus users of the messaging service to Skype, according to emails Microsoft began sending out to subscribers Tuesday.
Microsoft, Redmond, Wash., first disclosed the plan in a blog post in November, when the company said it intended to combine Skype and Messenger in the first quarter of 2013. Microsoft acquired Skype in October 2011 for $8.5 billion.
Microsoft released Skype 6.0 last month for both Windows and Macintosh computers. That release allows users to sign into Skype using a Microsoft account: According to Microsoft, users' Messenger contacts will be there when they sign in.
Skype allows users to communicate via instant messaging and video chat. It also can be used to call landlines and mobile phones and, with Skype Premium, hold group video calls. For mobile users Skype supports iPhone and Android devices and soon will be available for Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.
In the email to Messenger users, Microsoft said it doesn't make sense for it to maintain and update two communications services. Microsoft will be shutting down Messenger and shifting users to Skype globally, except in China where a local provider runs the Skype service.
PUBLISHED JAN. 9, 2013