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Microsoft drops Live Messenger for Skype

Users will be moved over to VoIP app soon, reports suggest.

VoIP

Microsoft looks ready to retire its long-standing IM application Windows Live Messenger in favour Skype, the VoIP client it bought two years ago for $8.5 billion.

Live Messenger with be integrated in Skype before being withdrawn as a separate service, according to reports.

Sources told the Verge website that the rumours may be confirmed as early as next week. IT Pro contacted Microsoft for comment but at the time of writing it had not responded.

The latest version of Skype 6.0 for Windows and Mac allows users with Microsoft or Facebook IDs to log into their accounts. For the past six months or so, Microsoft has also been moving users over to its Messenger back-end - now around 80 per cent of messages now being sent through Skype.

The rumours come as Virgin Media launched its Skype alternative, dubbed SmartCall. The app will allow Virgin Media customers to make free, unlimited calls with their smartphones over a Wi-Fi connection.

"SmartCall will stretch the home telephone cord all the way to wherever you might be, whether in a coffee shop in Cornwall or on a beach in Bali," said Graeme Oxby, executive director of mobile and home phone at Virgin Media.

The company said that the only equipment users need is a Virgin Media home phone, a smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection. As standard, Virgin Media plans include unlimited free weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin Mobiles and the app will automatically identify whether a call is included in the user's home phone talk plan.

The service will be available to hand-picked customers over the next few weeks and will launch fully in early 2013.

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