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Jan 09, 2013 at 03:35pm IST

Microsoft to shut down Windows Live Messenger service on March 15

New Delhi: After confirming its plans to shut down Windows Live Messenger service, Microsoft has now said that this will take place on March 15. Microsoft is dropping its instant-messaging program and forcing most users to switch to Skype. Maintaining Windows Live Messenger made less sense after Microsoft Corp. bought Skype for $8.5 billion last year.

Except for mainland China, Messenger will be discontinued worldwide after the first quarter of 2013. "In an email to Messenger users this week, Microsoft says the service will retire globally except for mainland China where it will continue to be made available. Microsoft urges existing users to move to Skype for instant messages and video chats where the company has been improving its Windows support recently," said The Verge.

A new version of Skype released a few weeks ago allows users to sign in with a Microsoft account. By merging the two services, people won't have to maintain two separate contact lists.

Microsoft says much has changed in how people communicate. There's more use of text messaging and social networking. Microsoft says that Messenger users who switch to Skype will get benefits such as the ability to call landline and mobile phones and better support on mobile devices.