Microsoft to buy Skype

Microsoft Corp. announced today it will buy Internet voice service Skype SA for US$8.5 billion – the most Microsoft has ever paid in such a deal, The Associated Press reported today.

As the software maker looks to broaden its online presence, Skype will be an important communications asset in its portfolio. For starters, Microsoft has said it will use Skype’s functions in its Xbox game consol, Outlook e-mail programme and Windows smartphones.

Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, with current Skype CEO being named president of the Microsoft Skype Division, Microsoft explained in a press release.

Being bought by Microsoft will be better for Skype than being bought by Google or Facebook, as previously had been rumored, PC World noted:

“Microsoft is larger and more experienced than Facebook, and will most likely be a better steward of Skype technologies and intellectual property. But, because of the relationship between Microsoft and Facebook, Facebook still stands to gain from the purchase,” PC World’s Tony Bradley wrote. Had Google bought the service, it would have given its VoIP more credibility, yet Google employees likely would have lowered the impact Skype employees would’ve otherwise had, due to the search giant’s “cliquish inside” of its more tenured employees.

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