Microsoft wins FTC's blessing on Skype acquisition
Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) proposed $8.5 million acquisition of Skype has earned the endorsement of U.S. antitrust regulators. The Federal Trade Commission issued an update Friday saying it approved the deal. The Department of Justice must also approve the deal, announced last month--FTC rules mandate that both agencies must review any agreement valued at more than $65.2 million.
Bloomberg reports Skype has terminated a number of senior executives in advance of the Microsoft acquisition closing, an action that dramatically reduces the value of their payout. Citing three sources familiar with the matter, the report states the Internet telephony services provider dismissed eight top-level execs, meaning their respective stock options will be worth less than if they had remained with Skype through the completion of the Microsoft deal.
Skype touts 170 million connected users and served 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010. Microsoft promises the addition of Skype's signature technologies will increase accessibility of real-time video and voice communications across platforms including Windows Phone, Xbox and Kinect. The company adds it will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.
With Skype, Microsoft acquires a recognized brand name that should boost the company's profile as it struggles to gain traction in the consumer market. Adding Skype video chat and other web telephony services significantly bolsters Microsoft's product portfolio and gives users another reason to remain connected to its platform. However, Microsoft must tread carefully as it integrates Skype into its Windows Phone mobile operating system--by giving consumers a cheaper alternative to traditional carrier voice services, Microsoft runs the risk of damaging the operator partnerships on which Windows Phone's growth depends.
- read this Bloomberg article
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