By Maximilian Clarke

Following months of deliberating, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) have finally closed their acquisition of Skype.

Since the merger was first announced in May the deal has garnered interest from tech analysts who anticipate the likely integration of Skype into existing Microsoft products will significantly enhance the software giant’s product range.

“Skype is a phenomenal product and brand that is loved by hundreds of millions of people around the world,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “We look forward to working with the Skype team to create new ways for people to stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues – anytime, anywhere.”

Skype CEO Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the Skype Division of Microsoft immediately, reporting directly to Ballmer. 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.

“By bringing together the best of Microsoft and the best of Skype, we are committed to empowering consumers and businesses around the globe to connect in new ways,” Bates said. “Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype’s goal to reach 1 billion users daily,” Bates said.

Founded in 2003, Skype was acquired by eBay in September 2005, and then acquired by an investment group led by Silver Lake in November 2009. Skype has made impressive progress, developing new products and revenue streams, strategic acquisitions, acquiring the intellectual property powering its peer-to-peer network, and recruiting an outstanding senior management team.

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