Microsoft has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy the Internet phone service Skype, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Friday that it had cleared Microsoft to buy Skype.
Last month, Microsoft had announced of acquiring Skype for a sum of $8.5 Biliion, company’s biggest-ever acquisition, placing a rich bet on mobile and the Internet to try and best rivals such as Google Inc. At that time, Microsoft officials said they were counting on the deal to secure regulatory approval before the end of calendar 2011.
Microsoft officials said they originally had been thinking about partnering with Skype, but decided in late March/early April to make an unsolicited bid for Skype instead. Microsoft officials said the price was finalized on April 18 The deal was signed on May 9.
Microsoft’s interest in the money-losing, but popular service highlights a need to gain new customers for its Windows and Office software. Skype has 145 million users on average each month and has gained favor among small businesses.
Microsoft is planning to integrate Skype with a variety of its consumer and business products once the deal receives regulatory approval, officials have said. Microsoft execs have said that Skype integration makes sense with everything from its Lync unified communications server/service and Hotmail, to Xbox and Kinect.