Microsoft has sealed a deal to buy internet phone firm Skype for $8.5 billion (£5.49 billion)
Many tech companies such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook have all been rumoured to be interested in buying the service.
The acquisition by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and co marks the biggest move by the software giant to gain a hold on the increasingly converged worlds of communication, information and entertainment.
Skype was launched in 2003 and was bought by online market place eBay by paying $2.5 billion (£1.52 billion) for the web service in 2005.
In 2009, it was bought by private investors who originally invested in Skype for around $2 billion (£1.22 billion).
Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, and Skype CEO Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division, reporting directly to Ballmer.
Tony Bates said: “Microsoft and Skype share the vision of bringing software innovation and products to our customers.
“Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype’s plans to extend our global community and introduce new ways for everyone to communicate and collaborate.”
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