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Messenger will start to disappear today. So does Hotmail. But, wait, don’t panic, all will be the same – almost – just with a new look and a new name. Windows Live Messenger will be moved to “Skype” and Hotmail is now “Outlook”.

MSN Messenger or “Messenger” some time ago became Windows Live Messenger, the is an instant messaging client created by Microsoft to work with Windows XP (up to Wave 3), Windows Vista (up to Wave 4), Windows 7, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Windows CE, Xbox 360, Blackberry OS, iOS, Java ME, S60 on Symbian OS 9.x, and Zune HD.

On November 6, 2012, Microsoft announced that Windows Live Messenger will be retired (except in mainland China) in favour of Skype. The function allowing users to merge their Skype accounts with Microsoft account was introduced, allowing them to communicate with their Messenger contacts via the Skype clients.

Microsoft will begin the transition for all users from today, April 8, 2013.

One of the biggest headaches for some – maybe many – is that MSN/Live messenger contacts are gone after merge to Skype. Of course Skype has a fix for this, but it can be a nightmare even for experienced internet users.

It was first announced that Skype would replace Messenger last year and it was believed that the changing of the guard would happen in March, however the upgrade will now start in April and should be completed by April 30.

Skype says that users of Windows Live Messenger will continue to have many of the features that they currently enjoy, such as group instant messaging, emoticons and screen sharing, along with many new advantages, like conversation histories, the ability to edit and remove messages, Facebook integration and group video calling.

“We want everyone who uses Messenger to have a positive experience,” said Skype. “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.”

Skype has also started testing video messaging on its iOS, Android and Mac applications in the UK, US and a few other countries. Interestingly, it has not been rolled out to the Windows version of the client, despite Microsoft owning Skype.

Skype has had video calling for some time: the new feature allows for asynchronous video chat with messages of up to three minutes long. Users can apparently send 20 messages before having to pay for the premium service.

As for Hotmail, Outlook is basically the same, but with a new clean, Metro-Style interface. You can sign into Outlook with your Hotmail credentials and no need to convert to anything.

In the summer of 2012, Gmail stole away Hotmail’s long-standing title as the world’s largest web-based email service. Around that same time, Microsoft released a preview version of Outlook.com, a new service the company promised would “reimagine email.”

Editor’s note: Outlook.com is not to be confused with Microsoft’s Outlook mail client program that is installed on one’s computer to receive and send emails. Outlook.com is the internet mail service replacing Hotmail.com


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