Microsoft Corp. began the process of acquiring the Internet's leading video chat client, Skype, for $8.5 billion, earlier this year. On May, 10, a deal acceptable to all parties was worked out and, according to a report on PCWorld.com, the two companies have been given permission to proceed, by both the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Union.

Skype, a hugely popular video chat platform, has a current user base of more than 170 billion people, is widely regarded as a pioneer in the field and has recently introduced the ability to video chat in groups. The organization's stated goal is to reach one million users per day and the merger will accelerate Skype's goal, said Tony Bates, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Skype. Bates will now head the Skype division at Microsoft.

Microsoft is committed to the ubiquity of the Skype experience, communication across every device and every platform will remain a primary focus, said Bates. In addition, he is also understood to have emphasized that the merger could transform communication itself.

The largest and the one of the more popular chat platforms on the Internet has changed hands for the third time since it was first established. The organization was founded in 2003; it was first brought by eBay in Sept. 2005 and later by Silver Lake, an investment group, in 2009.

It is understandable that most people, particularly users, are wondering if the merger will change the Skype experience. However, Microsoft has reportedly made it clear that the acquisition will increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications.

Microsoft seems to be quite satisfied with the merger, stating in a press release that the combination will extend Skype's world-class brand and the reach of its networked platform, while enhancing Microsoft's existing portfolio of real-time communications products and services. The bottom-line, then, seems to be that Microsoft hopes to earn a significantly larger amount than $8.5 billion it spent in acquiring Skype.

The statement from Microsoft also added that Skype will now support Microsoft devices like the Xbox and the Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices. In turn, Microsoft will now connect Skype users to Lync, Outlook, Xbox live and other communities.

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, said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft.

Stay tuned for more updates on new Skype experiences and the latest upgrades.

Tony Bates on Microsoft's Acquisition of Skype