updated 11:05 am EDT, Tue May 10, 2011
Microsoft believed overpaying for Skype by 4.5b
Microsoft's $8.5 billion purchase of Skype may have been the result of it being fooled into paying more. Multiple tips claimed Tuesday that Google was bidding but had stopped at $4 billion, less than half what Microsoft paid. TechCrunch was told that Facebook had never been in competition and, while not intentional, ended up convincing Microsoft it had to bid more to stay in the running.
So far, Microsoft isn't known to have heard Google's last bid and may have only seen both public rumors and basic information that Google and Facebook were possibly involved.
Why Microsoft was so willing to spend money isn't apparent, though speculation has mounted that the company is not just hoping for a consistent voice and video chat system across Windows, Windows Phone, and the Xbox, but to trump Apple and Google in mobile communication. Skype would give Microsoft a more universal and full-features alternative to Apple's FaceTime and the option of producing a Google Voice clone.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is also known to have a personal obsession with beating Google at all costs. The executive willingly loses hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter in online efforts to support Bing, Azure, and other cloud efforts targeted at Google. If aware of Google's involvement in the bidding process, Ballmer may have bought Skype partly to keep it out of Google's hands.