Microsoft has won US anti-trust approval to buy internet phone service Skype, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said in a website release on Friday. Once Microsoft clears other regulatory hurdles as well, the $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype will be Microsoft's biggest-ever acquisition.
FTC, which announced the clearance along with other deals, did not provide any comments on its appraisal of the deal.
Microsoft, in May, announced plans to acquire Skype and integrate its products and technologies with Microsoft software portfolio. It also has plans to create a Skype division, led by Skype's current CEO Tony Bates.
Microsoft expects the deal to increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications across its products, while expanding Skype's reach. Skype will be available on Microsoft products like Xbox, Kinect, and Windows Phone. Skype users will also be connected with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live, and more.
Skype has 145 million users on an average each month and is popular among small businesses, but is losing money. Microsoft hopes the acquisition to gain new customers for its Windows and Office software.
Skype is currently owned by investor group Silver Lake, which along with Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz Ventures, and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), acquired a majority stake in Skype in December 2009.
Microsoft said it would continue to support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.