Well I’ve seen many “OMG did you know that Microsoft intends to shut down/start charging for MSN. Sign this petition to stop this” chain emails but incredibly enough, it’s no joke this time.
Microsoft intends to retire MSN Messenger in the first quarter of 2013, replacing it with Skype, acquired in 2011. This will allow users to sign in with both MSN accounts and Skype accounts, which are being streamlined into Microsoft accounts for easier access to other Microsoft services. If you have an MSN account and a Skype account, you will be able to merge your contacts.
Read more from the official Skype blog.