After many rumors made the rounds in recent days about Skype’s future — including one a few days ago that Facebook would buy the company for $3-4 billion — Microsoft has swooped in to buy the web video/phone service for a cool $8.5 billion.
Reports the Wall Street Journal:
About 170 million people log in to Skype’s services every month, though not all of them make calls. Skype users made 207 billion minutes of voice and video calls last year. Microsoft said it will marry Skype’s functions to its Xbox and Kinect game consoles, Outlook email program and Windows smartphones. The company said it will continue to support Skype on other software platforms.
The Skype deal ranks as the biggest acquisition in the 36-year history of Microsoft, a company that traditionally has shied away from large deals. In 2007, Microsoft paid approximately $6 billion to acquire online advertising firm aQuantive Inc. Many current and former Microsoft executives believe Microsoft significantly overpaid for that deal. But they are also relieved that Microsoft gave up on an unsolicited $48 billion offer for Yahoo Inc. nearly three years ago. Yahoo is valued at half that sum today.
I just hope this doesn’t mean that “Clippy,” the annoying Microsoft Office help paperclip, will be popping up when I’m in the middle of having Skype sex with someone. Because that would be mildly annoying.