Microsoft bought Skype last year for $8.5 billion, and Skype's Internet-calling software also included an instant-messaging component. As a first step towards integration, Messenger users can sign in to Skype and bring over their contacts.
Here's what's more interesting to us: Microsoft also has a business-messaging product called Lync. In September, the Lync team announced integration with Skype. Previously, Lync supported Windows Live Messenger.
The combination of email, IM, and voice is known as "unified communications," and Microsoft is really interested in selling servers that handle unified communications. So the news that Microsoft is rationalizing its communications products and leaning heavily on Skype makes sense.
Both Lync and Skype play heavily into Microsoft's plans for smartphones and tablets, too.
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