Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Microsoft snaps up Skype to keep rivals at bay

For Microsoft Corp., the only thing better than acquiring Internet communication powerhouse Skype is ensuring that Google and Facebook didn’t. Under immense pressure to make up ground to its rivals in the smart phone and mobile communication market, the Redmond-based software giant has opted to spend $8.5-billion (U.S.) on Skype, a company it hopes will immediately vault it back to the top of the leaderboard, thanks to Skype’s 107 million active users and presence on almost every type of personal computing device on the planet, from desktops to iPhones. Skype offers users free or relatively cheap Web-based audio and video calls. The all-cash deal – the largest in Microsoft’s 36-year history – ends months of negotiations that are believed to have involved heavyweight suitors such as Google and Facebook.

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