As of today, Skype is no longer a separate company. It is now Microsoft's Skype Division, and the company's former CEO, Tony Bates, is its president, reporting "directly" to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The $8.5 billion buyout took a little over four months to complete.
Now that things are finalized, Microsoft has gone into a little bit more detail about what its plans are for Skype. Here's the skinny:
The Skype division will continue to offer its current products to millions of users globally. Longer term, Skype 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.
Bates also says in the announcement, "Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype's goal to reach 1 billion users daily."
News that Skype will be integrated into other Microsoft services shouldn't surprise anyone—especially considering Microsoft's growing footprint in the smart phone market. Before that happens, though, I'd love it if they spent a bit of time fixing up the Skype software first. We use Skype regularly here at TR, both for podcasts and staff meetings, and we'd be happy with fewer snags and a cleaner, more polished user interface.