Skype joins Microsoft under a new division headed by Skype CEO Tony Bates. British born Bates assumes a new title as president of the Skye division. Microsoft’s finalization follows U.S. and EU regulatory approval. “Skype is a phenomenal product and brand that is loved by hundreds of millions of people around the world,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “We look forward to working with the Skype team to create new ways for people to stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues — anytime, anywhere.”
Microsoft is promising to integrate Microsoft products to increase Skype’s reach. Skype employees will continued to be located in their offices around the world, including Russia, the UK, Hong Kong and the United States. “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,” Bates said. “Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype’s goal to reach 1 billion users daily,” Bates said.
Microsoft originally announced its plans to purchase Skype back in May. The deal is valued at $8.5 billion and will see Skype integrate closely into Microsoft as an organization and service. The software giant is expected to integrate Skype support into Xbox, Windows Phone, Kinect, Outlook and Lync. The support will bring a compelling audio and video service to Microsoft’s various products. Microsoft has promised not to remove the Skype branding and will also support Skype on rival platforms to ensure compatibility and reach across operating systems like OS X, Android and BlackBerry OS. The acquisition will also bring Microsoft’s instant messaging market share up to around 70%.
Skype currently has 170 million connected users and saw over 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010 alone. Microsoft previously revealed a Skype application for Windows Phone earlier this year. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore introduced the Skype app during his MIX 2011 keynote in April. Belfiore introduced a number of new developer related enhancements in Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. “We’re excited to see Skype come to the platform this fall when all these additional enhancements are available,” said Belfiore at the time. The application is expected to be made available shortly for Windows Phone 7.5. and could take advantage of Microsoft’s new forward facing camera support.