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Official: Microsoft buys Skype for $8.5bn

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Microsoft confirmed today that it has indeed bought Skype from an investor group led by Silver Lake for $8.5bn.

The software giant said the buyout of Luxembourg-based Skype's technology would "enhance" Microsoft's current portfolio of real-time communications products and services.

In a statement Microsoft emphasised that its "long-standing focus and investment" in Lync, Outlook, Messenger, Hotmail and Xbox Live would continue despite the acquisition.

Skype will be slotted into Microsoft as a new business division headed up by the company's current CEO, Tony Bates. He will report directly to MS boss Steve Ballmer.

Under what is essentially a huge consumer-friendly deal, Skype will provide support for Microsoft devices including Xbox and Kinect and Windows Phone.

Meanwhile, Skype's 170 million users will be hooked up to Microsoft's Lync, Outlook and Xbox Live products, as well as other communities, said the software vendor.

It added that Microsoft would "continue to invest in and support Skype clients in Non-Microsoft platforms." In other words, Mac and Linux versions of the VoIP service will still be developed by the team, but presumably the main focus will be on Windows support from here on in.

“Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world,” said Ballmer.

“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.” ®

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