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Microsoft's takeover of Skype approved by FTC

June 17, 2011 |  4:02 pm


Microsoft Corp.'s purchase of Internet calling service Skype has been approved by the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust authority, according to a report.

The approval will allow the Redmond, Wash., company to go through with its $8.5 billion all-cash takeover of Skype, which is Microsoft's largest acquisition and one of the most massive deals in recent years for the tech industry.

Reuters reported the FCC approval Friday. Skype's software, which is used by 170 million people each month on personal computers, smartphones and some home television sets, enables users to talk by voice or video online for free. There is a fee for calling mobile phones and land lines.

Microsoft has said it will integrate Skype into its other products, such as its Xbox 360 video gaming console and Outlook, its email software. Google and Facebook also considered buying Skype before Microsoft announced its purchase of the Luxembourg Web calling firm, reports said.

Although some have criticized the purchase, Microsoft Co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates was among the biggest proponents of the move.

"I think it's a great, great deal for Skype," Gates said in May. "I think it's a great deal for Microsoft. The idea of videoconferencing is going to get so much better than it is today."


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Photo: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, left, shakes hands with Skype CEO Tony Bates during a May 10 news conference in San Francisco about the sale of Skype to the tech giant . Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images