Tech News and Opinions (by Paul Spain)
News and Opinion, posted: 10-May-2011 16:12
Update: Rumours have been confirmed - Skype will be bought by Microsoft for $8.5 billion (subject to regulatory approval)
Reports have come in today today (via the Wall Street Journal and GigaOm) that Microsoft is close to finalising a deal to buy Skype for between US$7-$8 billion. Nothing has been confirmed yet by Microsoft or Skype.
It's an interesting move as eBay purchased Skype in 2005 for $2.6 billion however struggled to make it as profitable as an investment of that size would demand. Eventually eBay took on loss on their books of US$1.4 billion for the purchase. With those figures considered it will certainly be good news for Skype's current owners (including eBay who still own 30%) if they can sell to Microsoft for $7 billion or more.
Microsoft have for many years had a Skype competitor in Windows Live Messenger (previously known as MSN Messenger). Microsoft's own Live Messenger has delivered a credible voice and video chat functionality for some time. It's Skype however that has remained the primary voice/video chat software used by consumers and even Microsoft staff on PCs, Macs, smarts phones and even television sets.
This year Microsoft launched Xbox Kinect - which includes a video chat function that links with both Xbox users and Windows Live Messenger users. If this was extended to include Skype users it could be a killer feature for Microsoft that would help push Xboxes out to a broader audience (and help add millions more users).
According to reports a deal between Microsoft and Skype could be announced as soon as tomorrow. For more details refer to the article published by WSJ.
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