Friday, May 13, 2011

Microsoft Acquires Skype

Last week it was rumored to be Google and Facebook, but it seems that Microsoft has outbid the competition. Marking the largest acquisition in Microsoft's history, the company announced that it has agreed to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion. Skype runs the giant global videoconferencing and voice communication network that has 170 million subscribers and logged 207 billion minutes of conversations last year, according to the company. The service is free, although the company offers premium services such as establishing multipoint conferences and communications with non-Skype users for a fee.

Microsoft plans to run Skype out of a totally new division headed up by current Skype CEO, Tony Bates. Bates said he anticipates Skype's user base growing from millions to billions of subscribers saying, "We believe that this is a platform and a set of services that can reach everyone on the planet."

What does this mean for education?  Will Skype remain free?  Why did Microsoft want Skype?  Didn’t Skype just open a fantastic educator network? Like Scott Mesch, I worry that Microsoft will lose the understanding and impact of Skype as a free resource for the classroom. Check out TechBuzz's discussion.

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