Skype, which was recently bought itself by Microsoft, has added a new company to its stable: GroupMe.
The two companies jointly made the announcement as Skype agreed to purchase the one-year-old provider of mobile group messaging services. While there were no financials announced, AllThingsD said the acquisition was around $85 million. This is Skype's second major purchase. In January it acquired video streaming service, Qik, for approximately $100 million.
As part of the deal, GroupMe's team will remain intact and its app will continue to operate as a standalone for the time being. However, Groupme says it will now have access to Skype's 175 million users.
Both companies are focused on changing the way the world communicates, and helping people stay in touch with the people they really know. With a shared vision-an ambitious one-we decided our efforts to own real-time communications and the real life network could be best executed as one company, GroupMe said in a blog post.
GroupMe is available on all major mobile operating systems including iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry.
Skype's move to buy GroupMe might be an indication the company is looking to thwart off the recent entries in the video chat space. Groupme's group chat service may be a likely integration point
The GroupMe team has created an incredibly sticky group messaging experience that works across mobile devices and platforms, making this a perfect addition to the voice, video and text products in the Skype family, Tony Bates, Skype's chief executive officer, said in a blog post.
Thus far, Skype has developed market leading video chat services with basic one-to-one voice and video calling, group calling for premium members, SMS and one-to-one instant messaging. However, it is missing a group messaging service.
The company has faced immense pressure from up-and-coming contenders in the video chat space including Facebook's own offering and Google+'s Hangouts function which includes Huddle, a GroupMe type chat service. Apple's Mac and iOS devices all have FaceTime capabilities as well.