MSN Messenger users to be migrated to Skype in April

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English-speakers to go first, with the entire switch to Skype expected to take at least a month

Microsoft Messenger users will be moved to Skype in April, following the software giant's purchase of the VoIP service.

The shift from Messenger to Skype will begin on 8 April for English speakers, and concluding with the migration of Brazilian Portuguese speakers at least a month later.

The job’s a formidable one: Microsoft Instant Messenger was first released in 1999, and in its 13-year history accumulated over 300 million users, according to Microsoft figures released in 2010.

In 2011, the Redmond giant bought Skype for $8.5 billion (about £5.2bn). The most recent version, Skype 6.0, was released in October 2012, and brought with it the ability to sign in to the software using a Microsoft Messenger account and send instant messages to users of the Microsoft service.

In November 2012, Microsoft announced Messenger would be shuttered in favour of Skype. MSN devotees will be joining Skype’s 280 million existing users, with Skype itself appearing to be in rude health - a recent report by marketing research company TeleGeography says the number of international video and voice calls made via Skype in 2012 grew by 44% compared to 2011, a figure well ahead of the growth shown by traditional telecoms companies.

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