updated 11:00 pm EDT, Mon May 9, 2011
Microsoft may buy Skype for 8b
(Update: more sources and details) A rumored collaboration between Microsoft and Skype might be nothing less than a full takeover. Insiders said Monday night that the company was near a deal worth $7 billion to $8 billion. The Wall Street Journal heard it could be sealed as soon as Tuesday and would assume an extra half billion of Skype debt.
Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase have supposedly given financial advice on the prospects of a deal.
The exact aims of buying Skype wouldn't be clear. Microsoft Lync integrates voice with e-mail and instant messaging for enterprise users and could get help from a deal. Skype's primary audience is home users, however, and would need to be stretched elsewhere to be useful. Speculation has suggested that Microsoft might try to take Skype beyond the upcoming Windows Phone 7 app and merge it into the mobile OS itself, possibly as a clone of Google Voice.
Any deal could be potentially thorny and get resistance from much of the cellphone industry. Skype is a staple app for VoIP on iOS. Verizon was also supposed to be depending heavily on Skype for video chat on its 4G Android phones but could see support pulled if a Microsoft deal goes through. Apart from Verizon, carriers also see Skype as the easy option for an officially sanctioned VoIP calling option.
Update: Extra sources said that the deal was virtually certain and would be made public early on Tuesday. Microsoft's key negotiator is purportedly Charles Songhurst, who axed the one-time attempt at buying Yahoo.