Microsoft has agreed to pay $8.5 billion to acquire internet communications company Skype in a deal that is the largest ever for the company.
Microsoft is hoping the acquisition will help them keep up against competitors Google and Apple by enhancing the capabilities of their communications. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said users can expect to see Skype everywhere from their email to their Xbox console once everything has been settled. By expanding the offerings of Skype, the company is increasing their communication abilities and watching all components of their company continue to grow.
Ballmer’s vision for the Skype division is to see it everywhere there is a Microsoft product. However, he did stand firm that the company had no intentions of removing the service from devices that do not run Microsoft products. Users with Android and Apple applications are still able to take advantage of what Skype has to offer.
Skype is a service that allows its users to talk for free via the internet through messaging, voice and video chat. For an additional fee users can connect to landlines and mobile phones as well. Ballmer did say that users can expect to see an increase in the advertising used on the service as they work to make it even more profitable for the company.
Skype has been owned by an investment group led by Silver Lake since 2009. It was originally purchased from auction giant Ebay for a little over $2 billion.
The plan is for Skype to become a new division of Microsoft with current CEO Tony Bates taking over that division.