updated 07:35 pm EDT, Sun August 21, 2011
Skype acquires GroupMe for messaging strategy
Microsoft's soon-to-be acquisition Skype on Sunday said it had itself bought GroupMe. The deal with the year-old startup gives it access to mobile group messaging. Skype has been quiet as to the exact intentions but plans to fold in the "best in class text-based communications."
Terms of the deal weren't given out and point to the deal being small enough not to require making the financial conditions public.
GroupMe offers features that have been or are expected to be popular, such as BlackBerry Messenger and Apple's iMessage, but is distinctly cross-platform and has its own unique features, such as question-oriented conversations. The developer started off with Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone apps, and it significantly added a Windows Phone 7 version that Skype will want for its future role as a Microsoft division. Users can also chat on the web, an important feature both for Microsoft's cloud aspirations and for possible tie-ins with Facebook's Skype-based services.
Microsoft may be looking to offer an equivalent to BBM or iMessage once it can start integrating Skype into Windows Phone's core interface. Any service might not arrive until next year at the earliest given the time needed both to tie GroupMe into Skype and then into Microsoft's code.