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Software giant Microsoft has announced that it will 'retire' its Messenger online chat feature on March 15 and replace it with the Skype internet telephony service.
Microsoft, in an email, advised Messenger users to update to Skype using their same account information in advance of the deadline.
The US-based firm had announced in November that it was shutting down Messenger in favour of merging users into Skype, the service it purchased in 2011 for 8.5 billion dollars, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The transition began late last year with the release of Skype 6.0 software that lets people sign in to the online communication service using Microsoft accounts.
According to the report, Messenger will be shut off in every country except China.
Skype features include video calls and being able to call mobile phones from computers, as well as being able to connect with friends at leading social network Facebook.