Microsoft Acquires Skype for Record-breaking $8.5B

Dennis Faas's picture

Earlier this week Microsoft announced plans to buy up popular Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service, Skype. The Redmond-based software giant agreed to pay $8.5 billion in the deal, which will bring all 170 million of Skype's users under Microsoft control.

The deal marks the biggest acquisition in Microsoft's history. (Source:

"Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a recent statement.

"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." (Source:

Changes to Skype Likely Negligible

Experts say that changes to the Skype platform and user interface likely won't happen -- at least not in the short term.

"Skype's value decreases if Microsoft starts to muck around with it," noted technology analyst, Om Malik.

What is likely to change are Microsoft Outlook, Messenger, Hotmail, and Xbox Live, as these services would greatly benefit from an integration with the new VoIP platform. Some rumors suggest that new functionality could include video chats running concurrently with Xbox Live gaming sessions or integrated Outlook email and Skype contact lists. (Source:

For now, though, most Skype users won't notice much difference at all. "[The sale] doesn't impact the consumer very much," Malik said.

Skype Monetization Strategy Unclear

PC Mag editor Lance Ulanoff also thinks it's unlikely Microsoft will change much about Skype.

Ulanoff says it's especially unlikely that users will soon be encountered by new subscription or pay-as-you go schemes, either. "With Skype, you get this built-in well of consumers and businesses too," Ulanoff said.

"So the great thing about Skype being a part of Microsoft is it doesn't necessarily have to worry in the short-term about turning a profit. It's part of a big company that can use its capital and slowly but surely find ways to monetize it."

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