In a significant development that could prove to be revolutionary in the telecom world, Microsoft has decided to buy the Internet communications giant Skype for $8.5 billion.
The acquisition will increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications, bringing benefits to both consumers and enterprise users.
“Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities,” Microsoft said in a press release, vindicating an earlier report of The Mobile Indian.
Commenting on the deal, Microsoft chief executive officer 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 Microsoft-Skype deal would be a big push for the Windows based smartphones. The possibility of making free calls using Skype on Windows Phones may prove to be tempting for many users, though phone to phone VoIP calls are not allowed in India yet. Only those calls which originate from computers are allowed in India right now.
Another interesting possibility for users may be use of Kinect, another Microsoft product which helps in making video calls, in combination with Skype. The Kinect-Skype combine would enable users to talk to their friends and family through high quality video calls using their televisions. These calls may originate from TV sets and end up on devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android, and of course Windows Phone 7 phones. The reverse may also be possible.
The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Skype. Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, and Skype CEO Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division, reporting directly to Ballmer.
Founded in 2003, Skype was acquired by eBay in September 2005, and then acquired by an investment group led by Silver Lake in November 2009.