Skype Merging with Windows Live Messenger

Since Microsoft (owners of Windows Live Messenger) recently acquired Skype, many people using both of these messaging services have been wondering if Microsoft would choose to unify them, or keep them as separate entities. We now finally have an answer, as the newest Beta for Skype allows you to bring your Windows Live Messenger contacts into its Skype, creating a unified chat program.

When the Skype 5.11 Beta went live last Friday, users found the option to sign in using their Microsoft account without needing a Skype account, giving them the ability to chat to their Messenger, Xbox, Hotmail and Outlook contacts all from the existing Skype program.

The new update also brings several other changes to Skype, one of which is more immediately noticeable than the others. The Skype client has a new interface, which is cleaner and less busy, taking a good spoonful of inspiration from the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. The update also removes the online user count from Skype, and the ability to display your previously used profile pictures.

Some existing Skype users have been having trouble working out how to add their Messenger contacts to Skype, which may stem from the fact that it has to be done in a different way to merging with your Facebook contacts. If you sign out of your Skype account and sign in with your Microsoft account, you’ll be presented with the option to access your Skype account and merge the two.

Those interested can download the new Beta here. What do you think of this news? Do you regularly have both of these programs running? Would combining your contacts be useful? Are you going to wait until these updates are out of Beta? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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