Ballmer: Microsoft-Skype will 'redefine' communications

Deal to acquire IP telephony provider, announced in May, finally ratified and Redmond plans to incorporate Skype's technology into key products such as Windows Phone and Xbox, reveals CEO Steve Ballmer.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

Microsoft announced late-Thursday it has completed the acquisition of Skype, five months after it first announced the US$8.5 billion deal, and will integrate the acquired technology into Redmond's products.

In an internal memo, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed that the company would focus on making Skype's products better and incorporating the technology into its key offerings such as Windows Phone and the Xbox game console.

In a press statement, the software giant said the Skype  acquisition from investor group Silver Lake was finally closed, following regulatory clearance from the United States and European Union, among others. The boards of directors of both Microsoft and Skype had previously approved the acquisition when the deal was first announced on May 10 this year.

Founded in 2003, Skype was acquired by eBay in September 2005, and later acquired by an investment group led by Silver Lake in November 2009.

In his company memo, sent following the ratification of the deal, Ballmer welcomed the Skype team and announced the formation of a new unit--the Skype Division--headed by former Skype CEO, Tony Bates, who now assumes the title of president reporting directly to Ballmer.

Ballmer also said the company was now focused on two objectives: making Skype an "even better Skype", and making future Microsoft products even better with Skype's technologies.

Elaborating on the latter, he said: "Over time, we'll enhance the voice and video-chat capabilities of Windows Phones, Windows PCs and Office as well as Xbox and Kinect. The marriage of Skype and Microsoft will give us new opportunities to connect the Skype community and other communities of people who use Outlook, Lync, Xbox Live and Messenger."

He added that together, they would "redefine communications" and offer what consumers and business customers wanted--the ability to have one-to-one discussions or group meetings using a broad spectrum of devices.

"We'll deliver these capabilities in ways that let people chat via instant message, voice or video and ensure they can move between them easily and naturally," Ballmer said. "Our collective ability to bring these capabilities to market is how we'll measure success long term."

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