The blockbuster acquisition, the most expensive in Microsoft’s history comes just days after rumors surfaced in the tech world that Google and Facebook were interested in partnering with, or buying Skype, but Microsoft beat the two Giants to the punch!
Microsoft said it will use Skype to “increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications” across its suite of products, including Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and other Windows devices.
The deal gives Microsoft an immediate foothold in the VoIP world, as Skype counted 170 million users in 2010.
Skype, which launched in 2003, was acquired by eBay in 2005 for $3.1 billion; eBay then sold “the majority of its stake in 2009 to a private investment group for $1.2 billion less than it paid.”
The company generated $860 million in revenue in 2010 last year, though had an overall loss of $7 million for the year.
Microsoft said Skype will become a new business division within the company — headed by Skype CEO Tony Bates, who will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.