Microsoft given regulatory green light for Skype buy


US antitrust officials have given Microsoft their blessing to close its acquisition of VoIP firm Skype.

The green light appeared in the form of an early termination notice on the Federal Trade Commission's website.

Microsoft announced in May it was buying Skype for $8.5 billion, its biggest-ever acquisition, placing a rich bet on mobile and the Internet to try and best rivals such as Google.

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.

"Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world. Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world," Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer said at the time.

Moving forward, Skype will form a new business unit within the software giant, headed up by the VoIP form's former chief executive Tony Bates.

"Microsoft and Skype share the vision of bringing software innovation and products to our customers. Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype's plans to extend our global community and introduce new ways for everyone to communicate and collaborate," he said.

Ballmer added: "Tony Bates has a great track record as a leader and will strengthen the Microsoft management team.

"I'm looking forward to Skype's talented global workforce bringing its insights, ideas and experience to Microsoft."


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