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Microsoft Acquires Skype for $8.5 Billion

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

After rumors that first Facebook and then Microsoft were in talks to acquire Skype, the latter announced that it has acquired the VoIP giant for $8.5 billion in cash.

Skype will be integrated into Microsoft devices and systems such as Xbox and Kinect, Xbox Live, the Windows Phone, Lync and Outlook, Microsoft said in a statement. The company has pledged to continue supporting and developing Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms as well.

The deal, which was spearheaded by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer with assistance from Charles Songhurst, the company’s head of corporate corporate strategy, was completed Monday evening, AllThingsD reported earlier.

The acquisition is an expensive one for Microsoft. Not only is it the largest price Microsoft has paid for a company in decades, Skype is not yet profitable. Despite revenues totaling $860 million last year and operating profits of $264 million, the company lost $6.9 million overall, according to documents filed with the SEC. And the company carries $686 million in debt.

Much of the company’s appeal rests in its largest user base of 663 million, 145 of which use Skype monthly (Update: Microsoft says Skype has 170 million regular users), and 8.8 million of which are paying customers.

There is one clear set of winners here: Skype’s investors. A group including Silver Lake, Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investment Board purchased the company from eBay for $2.75 billion in September 2009.

In August, Skype filed for an IPO but put plans on hold after Tony Bates joined the company as CEO in October. Bates will take on the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division and report directly to Ballmer.

Source -: http://mashable.com

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Royal Wedding Chatter Amps Up on Facebook, Twitter [STATS]

One hardly need look at the numbers to know that talk of the Royal Wedding is accelerating rapidly ahead of the April 29 event. The numbers are nevertheless enlightening, especially in light of where and among whom conversations about the Royal Wedding are occurring.

News stories (as indexed by Bing) are up nearly sevenfold to 7 million per day since the beginning of the month. Blog posts have more than doubled from 46.7 million on April 5 to 102.9 million, according to data obtained from Trendrr.

According to Nielsen, the Royal Wedding has made up more than 0.3% of all news coverage in the U.S. since the engagement was announced. YouTube videos tagged with top Royal Wedding-related keywords (Royal Wedding, Kate Middleton, etc.) have grown more than 10 times from 37.5k per day to 460k per day.

Perhaps the most amusing is the rise in Royal Wedding-related eBay auctions, up from 7,435 in mid-February to more than 400,000 this week.

Just as with the U.S. media, more of the American public is talking about the Royal Wedding than their U.K. counterparts. 40% of Royal Wedding-related, English language tweets originate from the U.S., followed by the UK (31%), Canada (8%), Australia (6%), Indonesia (4%) and India (3%), Trendrr finds.

Interestingly, on a per capita basis, most tweets are originating from small American towns, such as New Haven, CT; Lubbock, TX; and Tulsa, OK, rather than big cities.

Overall, tweets about the Royal Wedding have quadrupled since the beginning of the month, averaging nearly 5,000 per hour over the last week and accelerating quickly in recent days. Sentiment has been mixed; 46% of tweets are positive, 43% are neutral and 12% are negative.

A Trendrr spokesperson says that the data has been difficult to track because of the volume and range of topics related to the wedding. The data doesn’t include, for instance, mentions of Kate’s ring, because tweets with the keywords “#Kate” and “ring” don’t necessarily refer to Kate Middleton. Including them would “spoil the data pools,” he said, meaning that actual discussion related to the event is undoubtedly much greater.

Thumbnail courtesy of Flickr, The British Monarchy

Source  -: http://mashable.com

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