London: Software firm Microsoft has announced that it has planned to replace its instant message chat tool with Skype''s messaging tool.
Microsoft said Windows Live Messenger (WLM) would be turned off by March 2013 worldwide, with the exception of China.
According to the BBC, the news comes 18 months after the software giant announced it was paying 8.5 billion dollars for the communications software developer.
WLM was launched in 1999, and was known as MSN Messenger.
Over time, photo delivery, video calls and games were added to the package''s text-based messages.
According to Internet analysis firm Comscore, WLM still had more than double the number of Skype''s instant messenger facility at the start of this year and was second only in popularity to Yahoo Messenger.
But the report suggested WLM''s US audience had fallen to 8.3 million unique users, representing a 48 percent drop year-on-year.
By contrast, the number of people using Skype to instant message each other grew over the period, the report said.