Windows Messenger to Skype transition beginning in April

Microsoft has announced that its upgrade from Windows Live Messenger to Skype on Windows desktops will begin 8 April and take several weeks to complete.

The update will start with English speakers and finish with Brazilian Portuguese users on 30 April or later, the company said. It does not affect those in mainland China, where Messenger will continue to be available.

Microsoft first announced plans to ditch Messenger in favour of Skype in November. By last month, it reportedly notified customers that the 12-year-old service was officially going away on 15 March. But ZDNet said that will only cover a test group for about one per cent of users. The rest must wait until April.

"We want everyone who uses Messenger to have a positive experience," Microsoft's Skype marketing integration director, Parri Munsell, wrote in a blog post. "Upgrading to Skype can help you communicate in flexible ways, and be connected on more devices and platforms," including Windows, Mac, iOS, Windows Phone, Android, and soon BlackBerry.

In the meantime, Munsell published the link to a tutorial of a Messenger user getting acquainted with Skype and its instant messaging options, which includes features like emoticons, group messaging, and screen sharing. Microsoft also touted Skype's other advantages, like conversation history, the ability to edit or remove messages, sharing files and contact information, instant messaging with Facebook friends, and group video calling.

Skype already updated its iOS app in November in order to let users sign on with their Microsoft accounts. Signing into Skype with an MS account will automatically transport a user's contacts, and allow chats with Messenger, Hotmail, and Outlook friends.

The move represents the latest integration of Microsoft and Skype's services since the Redmond firm officially completed its purchase of Skype in October 2011.