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Microsoft will retire its Windows Live Messenger chat service, shifting its focus instead to similar functionality in Skype, a new report says. The changeover could happen as early as this week.

Citing “several sources,” The Verge reports Microsoft is planning to integrate Windows Live Messenger into Skype in the coming months and then retire Messenger.

On the back end, the merger of the two systems has been happening already. Skype now uses much of the Windows Live Messenger’s systems to make and receive calls (the calls themselves, however, still use Skype’s peer-to-peer system). Skype also uses Messenger’s systems for about 80% of instant messages exchanged on the service, the report says.

A merger is also in keeping with Microsoft’s broader strategy of consolidating its services under a single Microsoft ID for users, and the streamlining of its services overall (retiring the Zune and Hotmail brands in favor of Xbox and Outlook, to name two examples). Microsoft just launched new Skype apps for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 as well as a new client for Windows 7 and Mac, making clear that Skype is the company’s primary focus as a general consumer communication service.

When contacted by Mashable, representatives for Microsoft declined to comment on the report.


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