Microsoft has announced that it has entered into an agreement with Skype Global to acquire VoIP service provider Skype for $8.5 billion in cash. According to the announcement, the agreement has already been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, and “will increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications, bringing benefits to both consumers and enterprise users and generating significant new business and revenue opportunities.” With 170 million users, Skype will be integrated into Microsoft devices like Xbox, Windows Phone, and Windows, while Microsoft will in turn connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities, and will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on other, non-Microsoft platforms.
“Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “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.”
“Microsoft and Skype share the vision of bringing software innovation and products to our customers,” said Skype CEO Tony Bates, who will assume the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division. “Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype’s plans to extend our global community and introduce new ways for everyone to communicate and collaborate.”