Shaddows - 12:49 pm on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)
BBC's summary of key points:
It's a done deal: Microsoft has bought Skype for a whopping $8.5bn.
That's a lot of cash for an eight-year-old company that's not making a lot of money.
So what's in it for Microsoft?
For starters, the firm gets well over 600 million users who make Skype the world's largest phone company for international voice calls.
More importantly, Microsoft buys into a lot of potential.
Marry Skype's software with the Xbox Kinect and an HD television set, and Microsoft can make a powerful argument for getting into millions of living rooms.
Think beyond teleconferencing for the whole family: there's one-on-one training, home schooling, even patient care delivered remotely and in vision.
Smarten it up for the corporate world, and Microsoft can challenge the telepresence business of firms like Cisco and Polycom.
And Skype is multi-platform, reaching into the worlds of Apple and Linux.
Finally, Skype is mobile, and can be paired with Windows Phone 7.
The hitch: Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer will have to work hard to integrate Skype, to ensure the voice/video-over-the-internet company is not strangled by his firm's notorious bureaucracy.