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Microsoft buys Skype

by Steve Watts

Microsoft has announced that it will acquire the voice-over-IP company Skype for “$8.5 billion cash.” The deal includes planned Skype support for a variety of Microsoft devices, including Kinect, and Windows Phones. Microsoft also says it will connect Skype users with established services like Outlook and Xbox Live.

The announcement also included word that Skype will still support non-Microsoft platforms. That means the iPhone, Mac OSX, and PlayStation Portable can still use Skype functionality and receive updates, despite belonging to Microsoft’s two biggest competitors in the consumer devices and OS markets.

Under the new terms, Skype will become a business division within Microsoft, and CEO Tony Bates will become president of the Skype division. He’ll report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

“Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world,” said Ballmer in the announcement. “Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world.”

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