Microsoft has agreed to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion.

"Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said today in a statement. "Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world."

Microsoft plans to integrate Skype's technology with the Xbox game console and Kinect motion-sensing device, as well as with its Windows Phone platform. The company also will "connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live, and other communities."

Perhaps most importantly to Skype users, Microsoft said it will continue to support "non-Microsoft platforms" with the communication service.



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