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Don't shoot the Windows Live Messenger, cry IM users

Execution set for 15 March despite Skype migration complaints

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Microsoft has confirmed it will shut Windows Live Messenger on 15 March - and has already started merging its users' contacts into the voice-chat service Skype. The software giant warned as early as November that changes were afoot to the service formerly known as MSN Messenger.

A new Skype app will become the default chat app for Windows Phone, set to rival iMessage on Apple iOS gear and BBM on RIM's BlackBerry smartphones. It should offer instant messaging, video chat and merged Skype, Windows Phone and Live Messenger contacts.

Unfortunately a glitch in the app's integration with the Windows Phone People Hub prevented the new application from synchronising with the mobile's phonebook of contacts. And the Skype forums are full of Messenger users unhappy with the transition to Skype: punters have complained that their contacts have gone missing or that they appear offline to their Messenger buddies after merging their accounts.

A Skype support board administrator told frustrated users this afternoon:

If you reinstall and remove all previous data you trigger a new sync and chances are high that it succeeds and you will end up with a working contact list again. Obviously we don't want to ask everyone to delete all their Skype chat logs but rather fix our app to detect this error and fix it in the local database.

Live Messenger users were told this week, in an email from Microsoft, "update to Skype and sign in using a Microsoft Account (same as your Messenger ID) and all your Messenger contacts will be at your fingertips".

The Windows software giant announced last year that it was phasing out Windows Live Messenger - the most popular instant messaging client in the world, we're told - in favour of pushing Skype as its chat centre. VoIP biz Skype was acquired by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5bn. ®

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