Beginning this month, Microsoft will start helping Windows Live Messenger (WLM) users move to Skype, en route to eventually retiring WLM. Lync customers who are using federation with WLM will be mostly uninterrupted by this change but should be aware of some of the specifics.

The movement of WLM users is enabled by the Skype 6.0 for Mac and Windows (released October 25, 2012) which allows signing in with a Microsoft Account (i.e., the same credentials as WLM). After simply signing in to Skype, WLM buddy lists automatically populate into Skype, and users can take advantage of Skype’s expanded communication capabilities such as calling landlines and mobiles, screen sharing, group video calling, and support for a wide variety of devices.

Lync will continue to support federation with WLM as long as WLM is in market. Moreover, WLM users’ federated Lync contacts will follow the transition into Skype with the rest of their buddy lists, and IM between Skype and Lync for these contacts will be available immediately. Lync customers do not need to do anything to enable this continuity of service. (Note: Adding new Lync federated contacts into Skype and calling between Skype and Lync are not yet available).

Visit the Skype Big Blog and Inside Windows Live blog for more information.