Microsoft to Replace Windows Live Messenger with Skype

Microsoft's theme for the year might as well be "Out with the old and in with the new." That philosophy accurately describes the launch of Windows 8, which dispenses with the old way of doing things (like with a dedicated Start menu, for example) in favor of a touch-friendly future, and it also applies to Microsoft's instant messaging strategy.

According to reports, Microsoft is taking Windows Live Messenger out of the instant messaging game and inserting Skype into the starting lineup. "Several sources" tell The Verge that Windows Live Messenger will ultimately end up integrated into Skype within the coming months, and will make an official announcement soon.

Skype on Surface

This is the company's latest attempt to link Microsoft accounts to Skype. It was a little over a year ago that Microsoft purchased the popular (and proprietary) Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) service for $8.5 billion.

"Skype is a phenomenal product and brand that is loved by hundreds of millions of people around the world," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement at the time of the acquisition. "We look forward to working with the Skype team to create new ways for people to stay connected to family, friends, clients, and colleagues -- anytime, anywhere."

Windows Live Messenger dates back to 1999 when it was called MSN Messenger. At its peak, it had as many as 330 million active users sending and receiving IMs.