Microsoft has announced it intends to “retire” its instant message chat tool and replace it with Skype’s messaging tool.
The news comes 18 months after the software giant announced it was paying $8.5bn (£5.3bn) for the communications software developer.
Microsoft said Windows Live Messenger (WLM) would be turned off by March 2013 worldwide, with the exception of China.
It reflects the firm’s determination to focus its efforts on Skype.
WLM launched in 1999 when it was known as MSN Messenger. Over time, photo delivery, video calls and games were added to the package’s text-based messages.
In 2009, the firm said it had 330 million active users.