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Microsoft Corp. on Friday closed its acquisition of Skype Global after considerations of various anti-trust organizations around the world. Microsoft and Skype will remain focused on their shared goal to transform real-time communications for consumers and enterprise customers. The completion of the acquisition also marks the official introduction of Skype as a new business division within Microsoft.

Skype chief executive officer Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the Skype division of Microsoft immediately, reporting directly to Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. The Skype division will continue to offer its current products to millions of users globally. Longer term, Skype will also be integrated across an array of Microsoft products to broaden Skype’s reach and accelerate its growth as a fundamental way people communicate online. Skype employees will continue to be located around the world.

“By bringing together the best of Microsoft and the best of Skype, we are committed to empowering consumers and businesses around the globe to connect in new ways. Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype’s goal to reach 1 billion users daily,” said Tony Bates.

The acquisition of Skype by Microsoft is an indisputably historical moment as the world’s most popular voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) service merges with the world’s largest software vendor. But the merge is both praised and condemned. In fact, even Skype platform/software itself is rather ambiguous.

For consumers, on the one hand, the combined Microsoft-Skype platform provides phone capabilities [for almost everything except emergency calls] for all devices powered by Microsoft software (Windows PCs, Windows Phone, Xbox consoles, etc.), which is relatively good for the consumer, as this allows to save on international calls. On the other hand, Skype requires additional hardware for PCs and the calls may be uncomfortable; on mobile devices Skype is extremely power-hungry so it is impossible to use for a proper amount of time.

For operators, the major drawback of Skype is clients’ ability to reduce their bills by using VoiP. But at the same time, those clients have to maintain their phone numbers and to pay for Internet traffic and therefore they will continue to use services.

It remains to be seen how end-users accelerate the use of Skype as a result of its potential integration into Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 operating system. It is also uncertain what will operators do to stop or slow down the Skype’s mobile progress. They are unlikely to ban the WP platform as a whole since Skype is available for Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems.

Negotiations of the definitive agreement under which Microsoft would acquire Skype, an Internet communications company, for $8.5 billion were led by investor group Silver Lake and the transaction was originally announced on May 10, 2011. Boards of directors of both Microsoft and Skype previously approved the acquisition.

Tags: Microsoft, Skype, Windows, Windows Phone

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