Microsoft confirmed rumors this week that it will shut down its instant messaging client, Windows Messenger Live, and that recently-acquired Skype will replace it.

The company has been slowly moving people over from Messenger to Skype. The effort began in early October with the release of Skype 6.0 for Mac and Windows, which lets you sign into Skype using a Microsoft account.

If you currently rely on Messenger for internal communication with your team, we recommend switching over to Skype now so you can become familiar with the new interface and features. The process is very simple.

On the Skype’s sign in screen, select the option to sign in with your Microsoft account. If you use Skype already, you can merge your Skype and Messenger account into your Microsoft account. In doing this, your buddy list will already be synced with your Skype contact list and you can start chatting right away.

“Our goal remains to deliver the best communications experience for everyone, everywhere,” explained Tony Bates, president of the Skype division at Microsoft. “We want to focus our efforts on making things simpler for our users while continuously improving the overall experience.”

Messenger migration will continue until the first quarter of 2013, when Microsoft plans to retire the chat service worldwide — except for mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available.

[Via: VentureBeat, Image credit: Scazon]