Microsoft yesterday (10 May) confirmed plans to buy internet phone company Skype for $8.5bn (£5.2bn) in it’s biggest-ever acquisition.
The software giant finally purchased the online service - which allows people to make calls via the internet at no charge - after a month of negotiations.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said: ‘Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world. 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.’
The acquisition comes at a time when businesses are looking for cheaper ways of communicating, which has seen Skype gain more favour among small business users than ever before.
The new venture will give Microsoft a foothold in the video conferencing market and will extend Skype’s world-class brand – which will ultimately generate significant new business and revenue opportunities.
Since it was founded in 2003, Skype has been brought twice already. It was first acquired by eBay in 2005 and then again by an investment group led by Silver Lake in November 2009.
Silver Lake MD Egon Durban, said: ‘We are thrilled with Skype’s transformation during the period of our ownership and grateful for the extraordinary commitment of its management team and employees. We are excited about Skype’s long-term future with Microsoft, as it is poised to become one of the world’s most dynamic and comprehensive communications platforms.’
Meanwhile, Microsoft plans to continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms. The company also confirmed that Skype will support Microsoft devices such as Xbox Kinect and Windows phones.