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Microsoft has a message for you, and in no way is it bottled up: Microsoft Messenger will send its last message on March 15, as Microsoft kills the venerable messaging program to replace it with its younger, newer and more popular stable mate: Skype.

If you haven’t gotten the message yet that Microsoft is set to kill its Messenger service on March 15, this is not quite your final wake up call, but you can’t press snooze forever.

iTWire looked at this news back in November 2012, when Microsoft first announced that its Messenger software, which has had many names from MSN Messenger to Windows Live Messenger and more, would soon breath its last.

Now reports are coming in that Microsoft is more actively announcing to its Messenger customers that the end for Messenger is nigh, although thankfully there are no reports of this being due to Vogon constructor fleets.

The Next Web has reported that it has received one of these email messages from Microsoft, which gives the exact kill date as being March the 15, 2013, a date that likely means Australian and some other southern hemisphere Messenger users will be able to say they squeezed in an extra day – March 16 – thanks to international time zone differences.

Microsoft is also directing those wishing to download Windows Live Messenger to download Skype instead, as you can see here.

The only exception to the end of Messenger’s road is in China, which will see Messenger’s servers continue operating, with The Next Web saying this is “mainly because Skype is operated there by a local provider called TOM” – presumably ye olde tom.com.

TNW also quoted Microsoft’s email message which states, in part, that: “On 15th March 2013 we are retiring the existing Messenger service globally (except for mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available) and bringing the great features of Messenger and Skype together. 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. You’ll be able to instant message and video chat with them just like before, and also discover new ways of staying in touch with Skype on your mobile and tablet.

TNW has more details, but the short version is that if you try to log in to Messenger in all affected countries besides China after the 15th of March, you’ll be directed to download Skype instead.

So… unless you’re Chinese, Messenger’s last message will soon be sent, after which you’ll have to just have to get Microsoft’s new message: Skype.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.

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