Microsoft finalizes Skype deal, promises "ubiquity of experience"

Microsoft's acquisition of Skype has been finalized, bringing the VoIP service under the software company's wing in a deal worth $8.5bn. Skype CEO Tony Bates will now be president of the Skype Division at Microsoft, but in a separate blog post reiterates that the new owner "is committed to the ubiquity of the Skype experience" and that "communication across every device and every platform will remain a primary focus."

Initially, then, Skype will continue to be available through the current clients: for Windows and Mac on the desktop, as well as iPad, iPhone, Android and other mobile platforms. Ironically Microsoft's own Windows Phone isn't included in that latter category, at least not yet, and we're guessing one of the key priorities at the new division is to remedy that situation.

Beyond that, though, Microsoft says that the VoIP system "will also be integrated across an array of Microsoft products to broaden Skype's reach and accelerate its growth as a fundamental way people communicate online." We wouldn't be surprised to see it baked into Windows as a native communication method, as well as show up on Xbox and in Media Center products. Right now there are several TVs that can – with expensive webcams – be turned into video conferencing systems, but Microsoft integrating Skype could do the same thing with the addition of cheap hardware.