“The combination will extend Skype’s world-class brand and the reach of its networked platform, while enhancing Microsoft’s existing portfolio of real-time communications products and services,” the companies said in a statement.
Prior to this deal, Microsoft’s largest acquisition was the $6 billion purchase of online advertising company aQuantive back in 2007.
Skype’s increasingly-popular software allows users to talk via voice and video for free online using messaging. Users can even connect to a land line or mobile phone for a small fee.
Skype users will now have the ability to connect to Microsoft products like Lync, Outlook, and Xbox Live, while Skype will support devices like the Xbox and Kinect.
Skype is owned by an investment group led by Silver Lake, which bought the service from eBay in 2009 for just over $2 billion. Skype was founded in 2003 and now has 170 million connected users who chatted for a total of 207 billion minutes in 2010.
The company will transition into a new division of Microsoft and will be led by its current chief executive, Tony Bates.
What do you think? Is this deal good for Skype?
Check out the full press release here.
- Confirmed: Microsoft is Buying Skype for $8.5 Billion [Microsoft] (gizmodo.com)
- Microsoft Skype deal official: VoIP integration with Xbox, Windows Phone, more (slashgear.com)