News is breaking across the tech blogs that Microsoft have agreed to pay $8.5bn for Skype — the much-loved VOIP and IM service.
Rumours were that either Google or Facebook would acquire the former eBay property (eBay offloaded Skype a while ago at a huge loss). Microsoft, clearly unsettled that Google would make a move, plunged with a huge offer.
This of course is a smartphone story. MSFT will want to make the service a key element of the Windows Phone 7 experience. Whether that means, in the longterm, Skype apps for Android and iOS will disappear is unclear.
As a daily Skype user (for the last 8-years or so), I’m not sure what I think about this deal. As Ben Brooks points out, you have to hope MSFT has a strategy, and hasn’t just spent a fortune just to prevent Google getting Skype.
I’m excited about Skype coming to XBOX Live and Kinect, I just hope that this news doesn’t mean that I wont soon be enjoying it on my Android. Surely the more users the better?